Mark Phelan: These car features could prevent your next crash

Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

Traffic accidents are down, and with them vehicle damage and presumably injuries, thanks to driver assistance systems that are increasingly common on new cars and trucks. That's the conclusion by a variety of experts.

Companies like Volvo and General Motors have gone public with goals of a world with zero automotive fatalities, but what nobody's saying is that tech in today's vehicles are already preventing accidents. New pedestrian-detection systems will address increasing pedestrian deaths.

More than half owners of new cars with the systems said the features helped prevent a crash in the first 90 days they had the vehicle, according to a 2018 study by J.D. Power.

The study's results include:

49% of owners said blind spot alert helped avoid a crash.

42% said backup cameras and parking sensors did.


35% credited forward collision alert or automatic braking with preventing a crash.

"Driver assistance and safety systems will continue for the foreseeable future to be among the most important contributors to reducing crashes," MIT researcher and autonomous-vehicle expert Bryan Reimer said.

Features like blind spot alert, collision alert and autonomous emergency braking "provide the strongest near term potential to enhancing safety on our roads," Reimer added.

The features, which automakers lump under the heading of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems or ADAS, are available everything from sub-$20,000 small cars and SUVs to six-figure luxury vehicles.


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