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According to research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) like blind-spot monitoring (BSM) and forward collision warning (FCW), when used correctly by drivers, could potentially prevent more than 2.7 million crashes, 1.1 million injuries, and nearly 9,500 deaths each year.

Currently, however, these systems are available only in some vehicles—not all. Groups like the AAA and the National Safety Council (NSC) are working to change that. Even in those cars that have the features, drivers may be unaware of how best to use them, so programs like the NSC’s “My Car Does What?” program seeks to educate the public on the ever-changing world of car safety features.

Drivers Appreciate Blind Spot Warning System

Many drivers are already catching on to the benefits of these systems. Consumer Reports released the results of a recent survey in which they asked consumers to share their experiences with the ADAS in their vehicles. The majority (57 percent) reported at least one of these systems have prevented them from getting into a crash.

As for which systems they preferred, survey respondents listed the automatic emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control (ACC), and blind-spot warning (BSW). They listed the lane-keeping features as least satisfying because they create annoying alerts and vibrations and because they cause overly aggressive steering corrections. Owners reported frequently disabling them.

The most popular system for keeping drivers out of a crash was the BSW—60 percent of respondents reported it had prevented a collision. One respondent described an experience in which she was about to change lanes when a motorcycle “appeared out of nowhere.” The BSW lit up a warning in the passenger-side mirror, which prevented her from crashing into the bike.

Consumer Groups Advocating for Driver Assist Systems in All Vehicles

While over half of drivers appreciated driver assistance systems in their cars, many did not seek them out when shopping for a car and stated they would not pay extra for them. Instead, many drivers simply got them in the cars they chose and found out about their usefulness later on.

That is why Consumer Reports (CR) and other organizations have been pushing to have many of these systems placed as standard equipment in all vehicles. “Many drivers don’t realize that they’ll need these features or that they’re available,” said Kelly Funkhouser, program manager for vehicle usability and automation at CR,

“so they’re less likely to spend extra money to get them.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) states that vehicles equipped with front crash prevention—a system that detects when a vehicle is getting too close to the one in front of it and provides a warning and perhaps automatic braking when needed—are

“much less likely to rear-end other vehicles than the same models without the technology.”

The institute adds that according to its own study, systems with forward collision warning and automatic braking cut rear-end crashes in half.

More Vehicles to Come Equipped with ADAS in the Coming Years

Many auto manufacturers are voluntarily adding these systems to all their vehicles. Whereas only 29 percent of new cars sold in 2018 had standard AEB, 48 percent of them did by 2019. Twenty automakers have pledged to include FCW and city-speed AEB in almost every new vehicle by 2022.

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