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Crash avoidance potential of five vehicle technologies

Farmer, Charles M.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
June 2008

Objectives: The objective of this report was to discuss the maximum potential of five crash avoidance technologies: blind spot detection/warning, forward collision warning/mitigation, emergency brake assist, lane departure warning/prevention, and adaptive headlights.
Methods: Crash records were extracted from the 2002-06 files of the National Automotive Sampling System General Estimates System (NASS GES) and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Crash descriptors such as location of damage on vehicle, road characteristics, time of day, and precrash maneuvers were reviewed to determine whether the information or action provided by each technology could potentially have prevented the crash.
Results: Of the five technologies, the one with the greatest potential is the forward collision warning/mitigation system, which potentially could prevent 2.3 million crashes in the United States each year. Lane departure warning/prevention systems appear relevant to 483,000 crashes per year. Blind spot detection/warning, emergency brake assist, and adaptive headlights could prevent 457,000, 417,000, and 143,000 crashes per year, respectively. Lane departure warning/prevention systems were relevant to the most fatal crashes: up to 10,000 fatal crashes per year.
Conclusions: There is great potential effectiveness for vehicle-based crash avoidance systems. However, it is yet to be determined how drivers will interact with them. The actual effectiveness of these crash avoidance systems will not be known until sufficient real-world experience has been gained.