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Accident avoidance systems help save Missouri lives

More than 55,000 traffic accident injuries around the country could have been prevented in 2015 if all vehicles had been equipped with lane departure and blind spot warning systems according to a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A researcher from the nonprofit road safety advocacy organization studied about 5,000 front-end collisions and sideswipe crashes, which are the types of accidents that lane departure and blind spot warning systems are most effective at preventing, and she concluded that this technology reduces injury rates by as much as 21 percent.

While the IIHS study provides compelling evidence of the effectiveness of modern electronic accident avoidance technology, the researcher found that many drivers switch these potentially life-saving systems off because they find their warning vibrations and beeps annoying. The researcher also criticized car makers for not making the technology more widely available.

Lane departure warning systems are only included as standard equipment on 6 percent of the passenger vehicles currently in dealer showrooms, and blind spot warning technology is standard on just 9 percent of the cars, SUVs and pickup trucks available in the United States. While these systems are often offered as options by auto manufacturers, they are generally included in costly packages or only available on vehicles with higher trim levels.

The electronics systems found in most modern vehicles also record large amounts of data, which can be useful to both accident investigators and personal injury attorneys representing auto accident victims. Negligent drivers are rarely eager to admit to their reckless behavior when they have caused harm to other road users, but the data stored in their vehicles can sometimes reveal how fast they were driving and whether or not their safety systems were deactivated prior to crashing.

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