With the stimulus money many Americans have received during the last several months, many people have been shopping for big-ticket items. One area seeing an increase in sales is at car dealerships. If you’ve been out car shopping recently, you likely realized that new cars often come with more safety technology, designed to help reduce accidents. But do these car safety technologies really reduce accident risks?

Car safety technology effectiveness

Research from LexisNexis Risk Solutions does show that vehicles with advance-driver assistance systems (ADAS) do reduce the number of vehicle crashes. Vehicles with ADAS have 17% fewer accident property damage insurance claims and 27% fewer accident claims with bodily injuries.

Studies from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute also showed that:

  • Forward automatic braking and forward collision alerts reduce rear-end collisions by 46%.
  • Blind spot alerts (alerting drivers when a vehicle is in their blind spot) reduce accidents by 26%.
  • High intensity discharge (HID) headlights reduce accidents by 21%.
  • Rear traffic alerts, rear vision cameras and rear park assist reduce backing up accidents by 52%.

The drawbacks of car safety technology

Yet, drivers need to understand the safety technology systems their cars have. They need to know if they have a rear-traffic alert system rather than an automatic braking system. The alert system is just a warning of a vehicle near them rather than having a system that automatically brakes when the technology detects a vehicle in their path.

Some drivers have turned off their driver-assistance technology because they feel distracted by the warning alerts. Overall, millennials and younger drivers have reported feeling more comfortable with advance-driver assistance systems and using car safety tech features without becoming distracted.

Car manufacturers continue to monitor the link between using driver-assistance technology and distracted drivers. In some cases, drivers have admitted that they don’t feel they need to pay as close attention to driving because of their car’s safety technology.

In the end, drivers will have to learn to use safety technology as a tool. They can’t allow themselves to rely on it too much to avoid an accident, especially if they are driving at higher speeds and could cause a devastating crash.