Crash-avoidance Systems Get Positive Reviews from Consumers

Data released last week by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) showed an overwhelmingly positive response from drivers who participated in a series of tests in vehicles equipped with crash-avoidance systems. The study, called the "Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Program," conducted in a joint effort from the DOT and the Research and Innovation Technology Administration (RITA), held six "driver acceptance clinics" across the country from August of 2001 through January 2012 to gather feedback from the 688 drivers that participated in the vehicle-to-vehicle communications tests.

The tests placed drivers in cars were equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle electronic crash-avoidance systems in real-world driving scenarios. The tests were conducted in a controlled environment. The cars used wireless connectivity to alert drivers of approaching vehicles at an intersection, and also provided "do not pass" alerts to drivers of cars changing lanes or moving into a driver's blind spot.

Conducted in collaboration with the Crash Avoidance Metrics Partnership, the tests consisted of 24 vehicles from eight different auto manufacturers, with participating drivers and vehicles in Michigan, Minnesota, Florida, Virginia, Texas, and California. The test included vehicles that came equipped with a crash-avoidance system from the factory, and others that had aftermarket systems installed where they did not originally come equipped. The eight different manufactures included Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

After the tests were conducted and the results were compiled, the response was staggering. More than 90% of the participants believed that a number of specific features of the connected vehicle technology would improve driving in the real world. These features included those that alerted drivers to cars approaching an intersection, warnings about possible forward collisions, and those that notified drivers of cars changing lanes or moving into the driver's blind spot. Additionally, 82% agreed that they would like to have vehicle-to-vehicle safety features equipped in their own personal vehicles.

"Vehicle-to-vehicle technologies have the potential to significantly reduce the number of fatalities and injuries in crashes and could one day help motorists avoid crashes altogether," David Strickland, the NHTSA Administrator, said in a press release from regarding the test results. "These technologies may prove to be the next game-changer as we look at the future of auto safety."

But what does this all mean for you and your insurance premiums? Well, for starters, fewer accidents mean a lower premium for everyone. The more money insurance companies pay out to those who fall victim to a collision, whether it be a fender bender or catastrophic damage, the higher your premiums will be. Additionally, most insurance companies already provide customers with a discount for equipping their vehicles with modern safety devices, like side-impact and side-curtain airbags, vehicle dynamic stability control, and traction control. The same can be said for vehicles already equipped with the devices used in the test.

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