Vehicle Safety Technology Could Prevent Millions of Car Crash Injuries Over The Next 30 Year: Study

Report suggests consumers have been hesitant to use many of the new technologies introduced in recent years, due to unfamiliarity and fears they may fail to work in the event of an auto accident.

A number of advanced vehicle safety systems have been introduced over the past decade, from blind-spot warnings to lane departure alerts, which could help save a quarter of a million lives in the U.S. and prevent tens of millions of serious auto accidents over the next 30 years, according to the findings of a new study.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill conducted a study that attempts to predict the effectiveness of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) in preventing accidents and fatalities. Their findings were published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (PDF) this month.

ADAS technology includes blind spot warnings, pedestrian detectors, lane departure warnings, forward collision warnings, automatic emergency steering, forward automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assistance, and dynamic driving assistance. Although the technology has been available for years, many automakers have been slow to include the features standard on base models, often charging thousands more to consumers. However, this has slowed the adoption of the life-saving features.

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For this study, the researchers used existing traffic accident data to predict the number of auto accidents and resulting injuries and deaths in coming years. Then they calculated the probability that ADAS would prevent such crashes in the future if all vehicles had the available safety features.

According to their forecast, ADAS technologies currently available in the U.S. car market will prevent approximately 37 million crashes, 14 million injuries, and 250,000 deaths between 2021 and 2050. Researchers determined this would represent a 16% decrease in crashes and injuries, and a 22% decrease in the number of auto accident deaths.

In 2021 alone, there were nearly 43,000 car accident deaths, the highest in nearly 20 years.

Researchers said the benefits and lives saved could be even greater if the technology becomes popular among U.S. consumers. They estimate that, at the highest possible levels of use, ADAS technology could save nearly 300,000 lives and prevent 74 million nonfatal accidents by 2050.

Consumer Concerns Over Vehicle Safety Technology

Not all consumers are comfortable with ADAS features. One recent study found that up to 30% of consumers who have cars with ADAS features don’t use them. The study found consumers were often afraid the technology would fail, or indicated they were unfamiliar with how the systems worked.

The findings of the new study on ADAS safety features did not include high-level tech such as self-driving or autonomous driving capabilities. The figures focus only on established tech widely available in many vehicle models.

However, many consumers point to the recent spate of car accidents involving self-driving tech-equipped cars like Tesla vehicles equipped with Autopilot for their discomfort.

After several Tesla self-driving car recalls linked to car accident risks and rolling stops at stop signs, the NHTSA announced it will release new self-driving car regulations later this year.

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