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Status Report, Vol. 49, No. 2 | March 13, 2014 Subscribe

Parking sensors help reduce property damage crashes

2011 Buick Lucerne

Although parking sensors didn't show much promise in preventing backover crashes in the study with volunteer drivers, there is evidence that they can be effective when it comes to reducing parking lot crashes into other vehicles. An IIHS survey of Buick Lucerne owners shows drivers believe the sensors are helping them.

A 2011 insurance claims analysis by HLDI indicated that rear parking sensors offered on the Lucerne were reducing claims for damage (see Status Report special issue: crash avoidance, July 3, 2012). HLDI found that claim frequency under collision insurance, which covers damage to the insured vehicle, was 5 percent lower for vehicles with the park assist feature than for those without, while claims under property damage liability, which covers damage to other vehicles, were 17 percent lower.

In the IIHS survey of 426 owners of 2010-11 Lucernes with rear park assist technology, nearly all respondents reported that they always leave the system on and would want the feature on their next vehicle. Fifty-six percent said they had heard an alert and then noticed something behind their vehicle that that they didn't expect.

Buick is a popular brand among older drivers, and 95 percent of the owners surveyed were older than 60. Technology such as parking sensors has the potential to help address some common age-related problems, such as difficulty turning one's head, but there are concerns about how easy the features are for older drivers to incorporate into their driving habits. This survey shows that acceptance of Buick's parking sensors is high among older drivers.

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Research shows benefit of rear cameras

Rear cameras show promise in preventing backover crashes and are more effective than parking sensors in helping drivers avoid objects behind them, new IIHS research demonstrates.

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