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Studies Reveal Life-Saving Potential of Lane-Departure Warning Systems

Lane warning signal system

Lane-departure warning systems aren’t universally beloved by drivers. They may find the feature grating, as it is often designed to set off a dinging bell when a driver crosses a line of traffic. In frustration, many drivers have disabled the feature. Those drivers may want to reconsider, as new research shows the effectiveness of lane-departure warnings in preventing car accidents.

System alerts drivers to unintended swerving out of lane

Lane-departure warning systems use sensors to detect when a car has drifted out of its lane, as a way of preventing crashes caused by inattention or drowsiness. A recently-released report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that evidence supports the effectiveness of lane-departure warning systems.

The study compared the crash rates of vehicles that had lane-departure warnings versus those that did not. The study showed that cars with a lane-departure warning system were involved in 21% fewer total injury accidents, and 11% fewer accidents overall. The researchers determined that, if lane-departure warning systems had been installed in all vehicles in 2015, nearly 85,000 crashes and 55,000 injuries could have been prevented in that single year alone.

Despite the safety potential of a lane-departure warning system, it is not often included as a standard safety feature. In fact, only 6% of new vehicle models in 2017 had lane-departure warning systems, and only 57% offered it as an add-on feature.

Possibility that even more crashes could be prevented if feature were not able to be deactivated

The research may not tell the whole story of just how effective lane-departure warning systems are in preventing accidents. The statistics used to measure the effectiveness of the systems were based on the percentage of cars which came with lane-departure warning systems installed, and not the number which were found to have the systems activated at the time of a crash. Since the feature is often deactivated, there possibly could have been an even larger share of sideswipe crashes prevented by the systems.

In prior studies where drivers were prevented from disabling the systems, the share of prevented crashes was greater. For example, in a study comparing the sideswipe and single-vehicle crash rates of tractor-trailers with and without lane-departure warning systems installed, the rate of such accidents decreased by 53% among trucks with the systems installed.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a New Jersey lane-change or side-swipe accident, find out whether you should file a lawsuit for your damages from that crash by contacting the knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyer Andrew R. Jacobs for a consultation, at 973-532-9681.

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