The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) has found in a recent study that forward collision avoidance software and adaptive headlights reduce insurance claims, while lane departure warning systems have the opposite effect.
The HLDI compared the claims for Acura, Mercedes, and Volvo vehicles equipped with forward collision avoidance systems to those without. The technology alerts the driver if a collision is imminent with the vehicle in front. Active systems, such as Volvo's City Safety, can apply the brakes without driver intervention. The HLDI found that the technology reduced the frequency of collisions, especially if the vehicle was equipped with auto braking. Acura and Mercedes vehicles equipped with auto braking systems were 14 percent less likely to get into accidents, while Volvos equipped with the technology were a statistically insignificant 10 percent less likely to get into accidents. The HLDI attributes this to the Volvo system being bundled with lane departure warning.
The other technology that appeared to reduce insurance claims was adaptive headlights – headlights that turn with the steering wheel, allowing the driver to see better around curves in the dark. Adaptive headlights on Acura, Mazda, Mercedes, and Volvo vehicles performed better than expected, and were found to reduce collisions by as much as 10 percent, significant considering only about 7 percent of police-reported crashes occur from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. and involve more than one vehicle.
The HLDI found that lane departure systems, particularly on Buick and Mercedes vehicles, caused more accidents than they prevented, though not in a statistically significant way. The study showed that Volvo lane departure warning systems reduced claim frequencies, but attributed that up to lane departure warning being bundled with collision avoidance software.
You can check out a video of the IIHS HLDI findings below. What safety systems would you want on your car?