Study: New safety features cut down on accidents

July 9, 2012 12:00 AM

A new study by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), finds that the latest safety technology on new cars is helping drivers avoid crashes.

The HLDI is part of the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS), which collects data on accident risk factors that are used by numerous auto insurance companies. The group found that new features being sold on many cars are doing a good job at helping to avoid crashes.

Some of the new features include automatic braking, collision detection and adaptive headlights. Drivers may have to pay more for these add-ons, but the data shows that they do have a noticeable safety impact. The study compared the accident rates for cars with these features installed against those that did not, controlling for other accident risk factors such as driver age.

"As more automakers offer advanced technologies on their vehicles, insurance data provide an early glimpse of how these features perform in the real world," says Matt Moore, vice president of HLDI. "So far, forward collision technology is reducing claims, particularly for damage to other vehicles, and adaptive headlights are having an even bigger impact than we had anticipated."

While new safety features can cut down on accidents, they won't do much if the driver does not keep up with vehicle maintenance. Properly inflated tires and regular brake service can cut down on the risk of a crash.

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