New Study Finds Automatic Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control Effective at Reducing Collisions

Rebecca Lindland | Apr 17, 2020

Many new cars offer a wide range of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) as either standard or optional equipment. These systems are designed to help drivers avoid collisions, but the real-world usefulness of ADAS still requires analysis. BMW's broad installation of ADAS with various levels of driver assistance in vehicles during model years 2013-2017 provided the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) an opportunity to study the effectiveness of these systems at lowering crashes and insurance claims.

2017 BMW 7 Series

During that period of time, BMW ADAS packages featured four different levels of technology. The first bundled lane departure warning and forward collision warning. A second package added front automatic emergency braking (AEB). The third Driving Assistance package included these features plus adaptive cruise control. The most advanced package, known as Driving Assistance Plus, added lane centering technology and front cross-traffic alert.

Sample sizes for each of these packages added up to nearly six million insured vehicle years but varied widely. The most sophisticated of BMW’s ADAS packages, Driver Assistance Plus, provided about 120,000 insured vehicle years of data, making this study the broadest examination of the impact on insurance losses of ADAS combining lane-centering with adaptive speed control.

The HLDI study explored the effect of each of BMW's crash avoidance packages on each of the following types of claims: collision, property damage liability, and bodily injury liability. According to the study results, three of the four BMW ADAS bundles reduced claim rates under all three types to varying degrees.

"The crash claim frequency reductions for BMW's Driving Assistance package are the largest we've seen from advanced driver assistance systems, which suggests crash avoidance may be delivering bigger benefits as the technology improves," says Matt Moore, senior vice president of HLDI.

BMW's most rudimentary package with forward collision and lane departure warnings did not reduce claims in a statistically significant manner. But adding automatic emergency braking did produce results, with a 5% reduction in the rate of collision claims, an 11% reduction in the frequency of property damage claims, and a 16% reduction in the number of bodily injury claims.

Upgrading the technology to the Driving Assistance package with adaptive cruise control produced even more significant reductions in two of the three types of insurance claims. Property damage claims declined by 27%, and bodily injury claims sank by 37%. The 6% reduction in collision claims with the Driving Assistance package was not statistically significant.

Adding lane centering and front cross-traffic alert with the Driving Assistance Plus package did not offer a statistically significant change to the claim frequency reduction.

"The lane centering that comes in the 'plus' package doesn't seem to augment these benefits. That may be because the system is only intended for use on freeways, which are comparatively safer than other roads, and only works when the driver switches it on. The important thing here is that both of the advanced systems were associated with large reductions in claim frequency and reductions in overall losses," Moore says. "But the specific impact of adding lane centering and a front cross-traffic alert isn't clear."

The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) is the source of information in this article. It was accurate as of April 16, 2020 but may have changed since that time.

Explore new car previews
2023 Toyota bZ4X Preview
2023 Toyota bZ4X Preview
The 2023 Toyota bZ4X is an all-electric crossover SUV with seating for up to five people, the first of the automaker’s family of “beyond Zero” battery-electric vehicles (BEVs).
Read the full review
2023 Subaru Solterra Preview
2023 Subaru Solterra Preview
A favorite brand among outdoor enthusiasts, Subaru has never marketed an all-electric vehicle (EV). With the 2023 Subaru Solterra, that changes.
Read the full review
2023 Mazda CX-50 Preview
2023 Mazda CX-50 Preview
With the all-new 2023 Mazda CX-50, the company best known for crafting cars and SUVs that are a pleasure to drive on the pavement is extending that same sensation of joy to moderately challenging off-roading environments.
Read the full review
Read all articles
Scroll to the top
New Car Preview
2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB Preview
Most Dependable
2019 Vehicle Dependability: Most Dependable Trucks
Most Popular
10 Most Popular Large SUVs and Crossovers
New Model Update
New for 2019: Land Rover
New Car Preview
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Preview
More related
articles