Analysis shows the estimated percentage of certain types of crashes that could have been avoided...

Analysis shows the estimated percentage of certain types of crashes that could have been avoided if drivers left safety features on.

Photo: Erie Insurance/Getty Images

If all cars had automated emergency braking (AEB) and drivers left it on, crashes could be reduced by 750,000, according to a recent analysis by Erie Insurance.  

The company teamed up with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) on the analysis project to raise awareness of the benefits of safety features and to encourage drivers to use them. IIHS reviewed its data on the crash avoidance effects of various features in combination with Erie Insurance survey data on the percentage of drivers who admitted to turning off those features.

The findings are noteworthy. For examples, by leaving on AEB, drivers could have reduced front-to-rear crashes by 60%, resulting in 16,000+ fewer crashes.

If drivers kept on lane departure warning, this feature could have reduced single vehicle, sideswipe, head-on crashes by 14% or nearly 8,000 fewer crashes. Finally, leaving blind spot monitoring on could have reduced lane-change crashes by 15%, resulting in about 1,000 fewer of those types of crashes, according to the analysis.

All too often, drivers turn off or disable safety features because they find them distracting or annoying. In fact, the Erie Insurance survey revealed that of the drivers whose vehicles have these features, 11% turn off forward collision warning and 17% turn off automated emergency braking.

The two features drivers were most likely to say they disabled were ones designed to enhance their comfort and convenience. Some 30% of drivers said they had not used adaptive cruise control, which keeps a vehicle a specific distance from the car in front of it by applying the brakes if it gets too close.

Moreover, nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents said they turned off lane keeping assist, and the most cited reason was that they found the feature annoying. Some 22% said they disabled driver attention monitor because it sends too many false alarms. And 11% turn off pedestrian detection systems because they feel it is not helpful.

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