Studies find automated safety systems preventing car crashes

FILE - In this May 22, 2012 file photo, professional test driver Dave McMillan demonstrates the dashboard warning signal at an automobile test area in Oxon Hill. Safety systems to prevent cars from drifting into another lane or warn drivers of vehicles in their blind spots are beginning to live up to their potential to significantly reduce crashes, according to two studies released Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
FILE - In his May 22, 2012 file photo, a side mirror warning signal in a Ford Taurus at an automobile testing area in Oxon Hill, Md. Safety systems to prevent cars from drifting into another lane or warn drivers of vehicles in their blind spots are beginning to live up to their potential to significantly reduce crashes, according to two studies released Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

WASHINGTON — Researchers say safety systems to prevent cars from drifting into another lane or that warn drivers of vehicles in their blind spots are beginning to live up to their potential to significantly reduce crashes.

Two studies released Wednesday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that vehicles with lane-keeping and blind-spot monitoring systems had lower crash rates than the same vehicles without the systems. Some lane-keeping systems even nudge vehicles back into their lanes for drivers.

Lane-keeping systems lowered rates of single-vehicle, sideswipe and head-on crashes, in which there were injuries, by 21 percent.

But the institute's research also raises concern that drivers may be less vigilant when relying on automated systems or become distracted by dashboard displays that monitor how the systems are performing.

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