When you walk onto the floor of a Kansas City area car dealership, you’ll be greeted by a salesperson eager to talk to you about vehicle acceleration, touchscreens, horsepower, climate control and more.
The features most prominent in 2021 sales pitches, however, are high-tech safety systems designed to reduce not only the frequency of motor vehicle crashes but also the severity of injuries sustained by vehicle occupants.
2021’s safety systems
Today’s safety technology includes automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning (and lane maintenance assist), blind-spot warning, automatic high beams, safe exit warnings (alerting drivers and passengers when it’s safe to exit the vehicle), remote parking, rearview camera and others.
According to a CarBuzz report, various studies by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) show that safety tech is often doing exactly what was intended: reducing the frequency of vehicle collisions and minimizing the severity of injuries sustained by vehicle occupants.
Safety improvements by the numbers
The IIHS says forward-collision warning systems reduce rear-end collisions by 27 percent. When auto emergency braking is added to a forward-collision warning system, rear-end collisions drop by 50 percent.
Lane departure alerts reduce several types of very dangerous crashes by 11 percent: single-vehicle, sideswipe and head-on collisions (the most dangerous type of crash of all).
Backing up: it’s safer than ever
Blind-spot detection reduces lane-change collisions by 14 percent. And if your vehicle is equipped with a rearview camera, parking sensors and automatic rear braking, the risk of involvement in a rear collision plummets by 78 percent.
Clearly, the technology is working. Drivers and passengers in newer vehicles equipped with safety tech are in less danger of being in a car accident and at reduced risk of being badly injured when they are in a wreck. We look forward to seeing improvements in both areas as the technology is refined in coming years.