Triple-I Blog | Crash Avoidance Features Make Car Repairs Complicated But Still Valued

Max Dorfman, Research Writer, Triple-I

As more new vehicles are equipped with crash avoidance features, some owners are reporting significant issues with the technologies after repairs, according to a recent report from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS).

In the survey, about half of those who reported an issue with front crash avoidance, blind-spot detection, or rearview or other visibility-enhancing cameras said at least one of those systems showed of problems after the repair is complete.

However, many owners remained eager to own a vehicle with these features and were happy with the out-of-pocket cost, according to Alexandra MuellerIIHS senior research scientist.

“These technologies have been proven to reduce crashes and related injuries,” Mueller said. “We aim for them to continue to deliver those benefits after the refurbishment and for owners to feel confident that they are working properly.”

However, while problems with these technologies persist, the study notes that it is important to track repair issues to further utilize the crash prevention features. IIHS research has shown that front crash avoidance, blind-spot detection, and rearview cameras greatly reduce the types of crashes they are designed to address. For example, the IIHS said, automatic emergency braking reducing police-reported rear-end crashes by 50 percent.

An analysis conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) associated with the IIHS showed that the reduction in insurance claims related to Subaru and Honda’s crash prevention systems remained constant, even in vehicles over five years old. But repairs can make it necessary to calibrate cameras and sensors that rely on features to work properly, making repairs complex and costly.

For example, a simple windshield replacement can cost as little as $250, while a separate HLDI study found that vehicles equipped with front crash prevention are more likely to have a glass claim of $1,000 or more. Most of that higher cost is probably related to calibration.

A new IIHS study found that owners often have more than one reason for needing repairs to these safety features. Most received a vehicle recall or service bulletin about their feature, but that was rarely the only reason they brought their vehicles in for service or repair.

“Other common causes – which are not mutually exclusive – include windshield replacement, crash damage, a recommendation from the dealership or repair shop, and a warning light or error message from the vehicle itself,” according to the study.

Repair difficulties can prompt drivers to turn off crash avoidance features, potentially making crashes more likely. But, despite post-repair issues, the study found that slightly more than 5 percent of owners would choose not to buy another vehicle with the feature repaired. Like reckless driving and traffic fatalities continues to riseadvanced driver assistance systems will only become more important for road safety, which requires reliable technology.

Learn more:

Losses of Personal Auto Insurers Continue to Increase Due to Many Factors

IRC Releases State Auto Insurance Affordability Rankings

IRC Study: Public Perceptions of Litigation’s Impact on Auto Insurance Claims

Why Personal Auto Insurance Rates Are Likely to Increase

Acting to Stop Rising Car Fatalities

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