New research out of the United States has found the presence of some, but not all, car safety technologies – including adaptive cruise control and forward collision prevention – can lead to a substantial reduction in the frequency of car crash insurance claims, while others offer little to no impact.
The study, conducted by independent body the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), examined insurance claims across model year 2013-17 BMW vehicles to see which safety and assistance features impacted the number of collision, property damage liability and bodily injury liability claims per insured vehicle year.
To do this, it examined insurance data across cars with different levels of safety and driver assistance packages fitted. The first group had forward collision warning and lane departure warning, the second added front automatic emergency braking (AEB) to that list, the third added adaptive cruise control and the highest level of package added lane centering and front cross-traffic alert.
Results showed that the combination of front crash prevention systems like AEB and forward collision warning, particularly when paired with adaptive cruise control, resulted in large reductions in the frequency of property damage liability and bodily injury liability claims, but the further addition of lane centering and front cross-traffic alert had no significant impact.
Forward collision warning, lane departure warning and AEB together were associated with a 5 percent reduction in the frequency of collision claims, an 11 percent reduction in the frequency of property damage claims and a 16 percent reduction in the frequency of bodily injury claims.
Furthermore, those features plus adaptive cruise control reduced collision claims by 6 per cent, property damage claims by 27 per cent and bodily injury claims by an impressive 37 per cent.
Meanwhile, the claim frequency reductions associated with the addition of lane centering and front cross-traffic alert were not statistically different.
"The crash claim frequency reductions for BMW's Driving Assistance package are the largest we've seen from advanced driver assistance systems, which suggests crash avoidance may be delivering bigger benefits as the technology improves," Matt Moore, senior vice president of HLDI, said.
"The lane centering that comes in the 'plus' package doesn't seem to augment these benefits. That may be because the system is only intended for use on freeways, which are comparatively safer than other roads, and only works when the driver switches it on.
"The important thing here is that both of the advanced systems were associated with large reductions in claim frequency and reductions in overall losses. But the specific impact of adding lane centering and a front cross-traffic alert isn't clear."
While HLDI has conducted a similar study before using model-year 2017-18 Nissan Rogue vehicles, it said this BMW study was "by far the broadest examination of the impact of systems that combine speed control with lane centering on insurance losses".
The findings were based on a sample size of nearly 6 million insured vehicle years.