Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) have the potential to greatly improve roadway safety. They work by alerting or assisting drivers to prevent or mitigate crashes. Each year, more vehicles are being equipped and sold with these systems.
Analysis of the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey, conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), shows that driver error is the critical factor in 94% of crashes. The largest portion of these involve the driver failing to recognize hazards, including distraction. Many of the most promising ADAS technologies are designed to identify and react to potential hazards faster than a human driver. Learn more about how ADAS systems work by visiting My Car Does What.
ADAS can be organized into five broad groups, each representing multiple technologies:
Group 1: Forward collision prevention:
- Forward collision warning
- Automatic emergency braking
- Brake assist
Group 2: Lane keeping:
- Lane departure warning
- Lane keeping assist
- Lane centering assist
Group 3: Blind zone detection
- Blind spot warning
- Blind spot intervention
- Lane change merge
Group 4: Forward pedestrian impact avoidance
- Pedestrian detection
Group 5: Backing collision avoidance
- Reverse automatic braking
- Back-up warning
- Rear traffic alert
Consumers should be aware that ADAS technologies have varying capabilities, depending on the manufacturer. It is up to drivers to understand the correct use of these systems. While some are so effective that drivers may think the car is driving itself, over-reliance on assistive safety features can be a fatal mistake. ADAS technologies are meant to help the driver reduce their driving risk, not to take over the task of driving.
The Highway Loss Data Institute and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study the overall effect of ADAS technologies by comparing police-reported crash rates and insurance claims for vehicles with and without various ADAS technologies. This infographic shows that each of the four ADAS technology groups studied were associated with decreases in crashes and insurance claims rates.
Singh, S. (2018, March). Critical reasons for crashes investigated in the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey. (Traffic Safety Facts Crash Stats. Report No. DOT HS 812 506). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Wang, J.-S. (2019, March). Target crash population for crash avoidance technologies in passenger vehicles (Report No. DOT HS 812 653). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute. (2019). Real-world benefits of crash avoidance technologies. Arlington, VA: Author.