One safety feature seen in more and more vehicles in Chicago - and across the United States - is the lane departure warning system.
Over the past few years, the technology has evolved into a feature that's common in newly-manufactured vehicles, with drivers quickly becoming accustomed to receiving signals designed to warn when their vehicle is straying into another lane of traffic.
As any car accident attorney knows all too well, lane departure accidents are a frighteningly common type of crash that often result in serious, and sometimes fatal, injuries. With recent studies showing that lane departure warning systems may lower accident rates by more than 10 percent, drivers should expect vehicle manufacturers across the world to realize the potential of this life-saving technology and implement it on more vehicles than ever before.
Study links lane departure warnings, reduced accident risk
According to a recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Highway Data Loss Institute, lane departure warning systems lowered rates of single-vehicle, head-on, and sideswipe accidents by 11 percent. Lane departure warning systems lowered the rate of police-reported “injury crashes” of the same type by 21 percent between 2009 and 2015.
While these numbers may appear relatively small, the Highway Data Loss Institute noted that if all passenger vehicles had been equipped with the technology in 2015, nearly 85,000 of these types of crashes, and 55,000 injuries nationwide, could have been prevented.
Furthermore, these statistics only represent modest improvements when compared to other vehicle types and countries embracing lane departure warning technology. The Highway Data Loss Institute was quick to note that lane departure warning technology equipped on tractor-trailer trucks cut accident rates nearly in half in 2015 while a study of Volvo-manufactured vehicles in Sweden found injury crashes reduced by 53 percent.
Preventing lane-departure crashes before they happen
Accidents involving a driver veering out of his or her lane are considered among the most serious type of car crash for a reason. Drivers who fail to stay in their lane can cause head-on collisions, sideswipe other vehicles, or put passengers and pedestrians at risk in a single-car crash.
However, these types of accidents are often attributable to causes that are ultimately preventable, such as a driver who's driving under the influence of alcohol, or texting while they drive. A driver may also be too tired to drive, distracted by passengers, or lose control of their vehicle due to speeding or other factors.
To further curb these and other types of potentially serious accidents, it's important for drivers to understand that while lane departure warnings and other forms of crash prevention technology exist to help us stay safe on the road, it's ultimately a driver's moral and legal responsibility to operate their motor vehicle in a safe manner.