Every April, Distracted Driving Awareness Month is sponsored by the National Safety Council  to spark conversations about how Americans behave behind the wheel. Naturally, the discussion often turns to whether Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) as a modern technology has the potential to improve roadway safety. Even before everyone had mobile phones, distractions made driving perilous: changing the radio station, loud kids in the back seat, eating, trying to read road signs, etc. These distracted driving habits cause thousands of traffic deaths annually. Despite this sobering statistic, Americans are still succumbing to distracted driving habits. Now, research is showing that modern technology, such as ADAS is helping to reduce crashes in general, which in turn may help reduce distracted driving crashes.

Once thought to exist only in the realm of luxury automobiles, ADAS technology is experiencing increasing adoption, with approximately 90% of new vehicles having at least one ADAS feature available. Some of the most common ADAS features include lane departure warnings, forward collision warnings, automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist. Consumers are mixed in their views of ADAS elements. The good news, however, is that research is showing that ADAS may be having a positive impact on highway safety.

Overcoming human error

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey, driver error plays a role in 94% of crashes. Failing to recognize and react in time makes up the largest portion of driver errors. ADAS technologies like forward collision warnings and automatic emergency braking are designed to identify and react to potential hazards faster than a human driver. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that the inclusion of automatic emergency braking alone could reduce crashes up to 40 percent, preventing as many as 28,000 crashes a year. There’s also an incremental safety value to ADAS. As one example, forward collision sensors and emergency braking working in concert could potentially prevent 29% of total vehicle crashes.

Implications for auto insurers

As we are seeing on highways, distracted driving is everywhere and there is no one solution to overcoming it. What we do know from our own data is that having ADAS features activated on vehicles is effective – despite the existence of distracted driving – and may even counteract many risky driving behaviors.

As an auto insurer, you need to understand the data so you can underwrite policies relative to the risk. Check out the chart below pulled from our latest LexisNexis® Auto Insurance Trends Report. When comparing ADAS-equipped vehicles with non-ADAS vehicles, we see a reduction in loss costs across all major claims categories.

Source: LexisNexis violations data as featured in the 2022 Auto Insurance Trends Report

It’s clear that ADAS-equipped vehicles are becoming more mainstream, and as technology advances, the number of available features expands. You can be sure that we will be monitoring developments in ADAS technology and connecting the data to keep you informed on what it all means to your book of business. We invite you to download and read our Auto Insurance Trends Report to gain a better understanding of what is happening in the industry. You can also contact us with any questions about our auto insurance data solutions at 800.458.9197 or via email at insurance.sales@lexisnexisrisk.com.