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New research out of the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) in the US has found the presence of some car safety technologies (such as adaptive cruise control and forward collision prevention) can reduce the frequency of car crash insurance claims, while others offer little to no impact.

The study examined insurance claims across model year 2013-17 BMW vehicles to see which safety and assistance features impacted either the number of collisions, property damage liability and bodily injury liability claims per insured vehicle year.

The HLDI examined insurance data across cars with different levels of safety and driver assistance packages fitted. Group one had forward collision warning and lane departure warning, group two added front automatic emergency braking (AEB) to that list, group three added adaptive cruise control and the highest level of package added lane centering and front cross-traffic alert.

The combination of front crash prevention systems (such as AEB and forward collision warning, particularly when paired with adaptive cruise control), resulted in large reductions in the frequency of property damage liability and bodily injury liability claims. However, the further addition of lane centering and front cross-traffic alert had no significant impact.

Forward collision warning, lane departure warning and AEB together were associated with:
– 5 percent reduction in the frequency of collision claims
– 11 percent reduction in the frequency of property damage claims
– 16 percent reduction in the frequency of bodily injury claims

Furthermore, those features plus adaptive cruise control reduced collision claims by 6 per cent, property damage claims by 27 per cent and bodily injury claims by 37 per cent – solid effort there.

Meanwhile, the addition of lane centering and front cross-traffic alert were not statistically different.

Matt Moore, senior vice president of HLDI, said: “The crash claim frequency reductions for BMW’s Driving Assistance package are the largest we’ve seen from advanced driver assistance systems, which suggests crash avoidance may be delivering bigger benefits as the technology improves.”

“The lane centering that comes in the ‘plus’ package doesn’t seem to augment these benefits. That may be because the system is only intended for use on freeways, which are comparatively safer than other roads, and only works when the driver switches it on.

“The important thing here is that both of the advanced systems were associated with large reductions in claim frequency and reductions in overall losses. But the specific impact of adding lane centering and a front cross-traffic alert isn’t clear.”

The HLDI has conducted a similar study before using model-year 2017-18 Nissan Rogue vehicles. However, it said this BMW study was “by far the broadest examination of the impact of systems that combine speed control with lane centering on insurance losses”.

The findings were based on a sample size of nearly 6 million insured vehicle years.

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