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Collision warnings in cars work: IIHS study

A new study suggests that most new technologies to reduce car crashes are effective.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found claims went down seven percent for vehicles that sound a warning to alert drivers of an imminent crash.

There was a fourteen-percent reduction in claims for cars that automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision.

The Institute's David Zuby  says that's a significant reduction.

The study also found a ten-percent reduction in claims for cars with adaptive headlights.

"There's a little motor in the headlight that as you turn the steering wheel, it turns the beam of one or both the headlights in the direction that you're turning to better light the road," Zuby explains.

But Zuby says one finding was surprising.

Lane departure warnings, at least in some brands, appear to slightly increase the risk of accidents.

It could be that people tend to ignore the warnings over time, but Zuby says further study is needed to figure out what's happening.


Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.