Crash avoidance features and teen-specific vehicle technologies could prevent or mitigate 41% of all crashes involving teen drivers, according to a new study published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
“We know these technologies don’t stop 100% of the crashes they’re designed to address, but our analysis shows that the potential benefits for teen drivers could be pretty stunning if they were widely used,” according to Alexandra Mueller, an IIHS research scientist and the lead author of the paper.
On a per-mile-driven basis, teen drivers are nearly four times as likely to crash as drivers 20 years and older. Teen drivers are more prone to losing focus, and less likely to lower their speed to compensate for slick roads or poor visibility. They are also often involved in rear-end and right-angle crashes. All that means that the safety benefits of crash avoidance technologies like front crash prevention and lane departure prevention could be particularly helpful for teen drivers.
The IIHS study looked at all crashes involving teen drivers that occurred on U.S. roads between 2016 and 2019, focusing on crash scenarios relevant to three crash avoidance features (front crash prevention, lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring). It also considered use of technologies designed for teen drivers, both in-vehicle systems and smartphone apps that offer speeding prevention features, night-time curfew notifications and extended reminders or gearshift interlocks to encourage seat belt use.
Assuming those technologies were universally used and completely effective – something that may never be the case, the researchers concluded that together they could prevent or mitigate more than 2 in 5 of all crashes involving teen drivers, as many as 47% of teen driver injuries and 78% of teen driver deaths. “However, even at current levels of performance, existing crash avoidance technologies could prevent a lot of crashes if they were universally adopted,” the IIHS said.
Previous research has shown that lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking reduce the types of crashes they’re designed to prevent by 11%, 14% and 50%, respectively. Based on those percentages, lane departure warning as it works now could prevent nearly 6,500 teen driver crashes a year, blind spot monitoring another 4,500, and auto-emergency braking a further 110,000.
One hurdle the study acknowledges is that many parents may not realise that their vehicles may be equipped with teen driver-specific technologies, while others may purposely decide not to use them. Some even said they didn’t think the technologies had any safety benefits. “This lack of access and lack of acceptance are two major barriers preventing these technologies from delivering on their full potential,” said Mueller. “Manufacturers should include these features in more vehicles and do a better job of communicating the benefits to parents and teens.”
This article courtesy of John Huetter of Repairer Driven Education (RDE). Check out the website at: http://www.repairerdrivennews.com/.