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Going with the Flow: IIHS report shows adaptive cruise control can lead to speeding

Toronto, Ontario — A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) seems to suggest that our cars may be as susceptible to peer pressure as their owners, when it comes to their vehicle’s adaptive cruise control (ACC).

The IIHS has reported that drivers who make use of ACC in their vehicles may find themselves driving over the speed limit to keep up with the flow of traffic.

The report identified two different ramifications that this finding could have on the collision claims industry.

The first being, that this feature’s tendency to cause a vehicle to speed may in fact negate the safety aspect that it is designed for.

“(A)n analysis of insurance claims data by the IIHS-affiliated Highway Loss Data Institute and other research indicate that ACC may lower crash risk,” said the statement from IIHS. 

“Other studies have shown that these systems maintain a greater following distance at their default settings than most human drivers and suggested that they reduce the frequency of passing and other lane changes.”

The second consideration is the emphasis that this puts on shops to perform adequate calibrations and help inform customers of the limitations of their ACC.

“ACC does have some safety benefits, but it’s important to consider how drivers might cancel out these benefits by misusing the system,” study lead author and IIHS statistician Sam Monfort said in a statement. “Speed at impact is among the most important factors in whether or not a crash turns out to be fatal.”

The IIHS estimates that 17 percent of the model year 2020 fleet has adaptive cruise control.

The full report can be found here on the IIHS website.

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