Annoyed drivers are turning it off, despite safety benefits.
That friendly – or annoying – reminder from lane-departure warning systems have the potential to prevent nearly 85K crashes per year, according to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Using data from from police-reported crashes, researchers found that lane-departure warning systems lower all types of crashes by 11 percent, reduce potential injuries by 21 percent, and cut the crash fatality rate a whopping 86 percent – compared to vehicles that aren’t equipped with the technology.
Other safety tech, like blind-spot detection systems, reaped slightly better results – lowering the rate of lane-change crashes by 14 percent, and injuries by 23 percent.
Despite these benefits, don’t expect any lower insurance claims on cars optioned with those safety technologies. The IIHS suggests that this is because of the vast amount of less serious crash insurance claims that “can’t be distinguished from those expected to be affected by lane-departure systems.”
Not to mention, these systems can be slightly naggy. In a related study, IIHS found that both blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warning systems are turned off almost half of the time because customers find them annoying. Observing 983 cars from nine different car brands brought in for service at the dealership, only 51 percent of drivers actually had their lane maintenance systems turned on.
The IIHS also suggests that many of these systems are too easy to turn off. Safety-conscious car brands like Volvo are attempting to trick the driver into using the safety systems by purposely hiding the settings for them in several sub menus of the infotainment system. Those efforts netted Volvo a much higher use rate of 86 percent, according to the IIHS.
At the end of the day, it’s up to the driver to listen to or have the systems on, which begs the question: Why are customers spending the extra money on safety technology that they’re not going to use?