Recent studies by the US Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) show that crash avoidance systems are associated with larger reductions in the frequency of collision and property damage liability (PDL) claims for drivers under 25 years of age.
To estimate how crash avoidance technologies affected crash rates for drivers of different ages, the HLDI conducted separate studies of insurance claims for Honda, Kia and Subaru vehicles, comparing vehicles equipped with the manufacturers’ crash avoidance packages against identical, unequipped models. The institute said it chose vehicles on which the presence or absence of optional crash avoidance features is discernible from the vehicle identification number or trim level, using the data to categorise the results by age.
According to the HLDI, each manufacturer’s crash avoidance systems are different, and features are bundled differently depending on the brand. However, all three bundles studied included lane departure warning and forward collision warning, while the Kia and Subaru packages included automatic emergency braking.
The technologies use cameras and other sensors to monitor the roadway and alert drivers when the vehicle is approaching an obstacle or drifting out of its intended lane. Vehicles with automatic emergency braking (AEB) also apply the brakes to avoid a collision if the driver doesn’t react to the warning swiftly enough. The HLDI said research has demonstrated the technologies can help prevent front-to-rear and run-off-road crashes, which are more common among younger drivers.
The HLDI said the Subaru and Kia bundles that included AEB and additional technologies were associated with larger reductions in claim frequencies than Honda’s combination of forward collision warning and lane departure warning, but the trend was similar for all three systems.
Collision coverage insures against crash-related damage to the insured driver’s own vehicle when the insured driver is at fault. Property damage liability coverage insures against damage insured drivers cause to other vehicles and property. Under both coverages, claim frequencies generally dropped more for drivers under 25 than for the 25-64 and 65-plus age groups. The exception was for collision claim frequency with the Honda crash avoidance features, which had about the same benefit for the youngest drivers and those aged 25 to 64.
According to the HLDI, some of the results for particular age groups and coverages were not statistically significant, and results for the youngest drivers were based on the smallest sample. The institute also noted a disclaimer that it is also possible to switch off the crash avoidance features on all three vehicles, and the researchers had no way of measuring how much the different age groups used them.