Do Advanced Safety Systems Like Lane-Departure Warning Systems Actually Make Our Roads Safer?

Advanced safety systems that include features like lane-departure and blind-spot warnings are becoming popular in newer model vehicles. But do these systems actually make the road safer? A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says yes.

In fact, the study found that if all passenger cars on U.S. roads had lane-departure warning systems in 2015, nearly 85,000 crashes and more than 55,000 injuries would have been prevented that year.

According to Jessicia Cicchino, the IIHS vice president for research, the number of fatal crashes involving unintentional lane departures is high, and any technology aimed at minimizing these accidents has potential to save lives and make our roads safer.

The study found that lane-departure warning systems lower the rates of three types of passenger car crashes – (1) single-vehicle crashes; (2) side-swipe crashes; and (3) head-on collisions – by 11%. The same study found that they reduce injuries from these collisions by 21%.

Are there other benefits to opting for these advanced safety features other than reducing accidents and injuries? Absolutely. Consumer Reports awards extra points to a vehicle’s Overall Score if advanced safety features like forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking come standard on the vehicle. As for other advanced safety systems, including lane-departure warning, Consumer Reports plans to evaluate how much those systems might add to a vehicle’s score.

But how does this technology actually work in practice? Consumer Reports’s subscribers have given mixed reviews for lane-departure warning systems, but in general, most consumers seem happy with the technology. A survey of more than 57,000 subscribers found that 70% of owners of lane-assist technology liked the systems, and 12% of owners reported that it helped them avoid a collision.

So, how many vehicles actually have these advanced safety features? Consumer Reports created a detailed list of cars with features that help drivers avoid or mitigate collisions. Click here to see which safety features are standard, optional or unavailable for each vehicle make and model.

Overall, it is clear that advanced safety features like lane-assist technology have the potential to save lives and make our roads safer. But it is important to remember that these safety features are designed only to assist drivers, not replace safe driving practices.