Grey-DAS: ADAS tech could prevent a third of crash scenarios for older drivers, IIHS says

Toronto, Ontario — Advanced driver-assistance technology (ADAS) could be the key to keeping our older generation of Canadians safe on the road, according to a new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

In the IIHS’s latest report released on Thursday, “Safety potential of crash avoidance features, improved headlights, and V2V-enhanced technologies for older drivers,” the organization found that up to a third of crashes involving drivers 70 years of age or older could be prevented with the proper implementation of ADAS technology—specifically left-turn assist.

“The number of older drivers in the U.S. is growing rapidly because Americans are living longer and retaining their licenses later in life. That raises safety concerns, as drivers in their 70s and 80s are at a greater risk of certain types of crashes and more prone to severe injuries and fatalities than younger people,” according to the report.

The conclusions reached in the IIHS’s report are based on U.S. federal crash data from 2016 to 2019, which was used to compare the most common types of crashes older drivers get into to those of middle-aged drivers.

From there, researchers worked to determine how many of those crashes could be addressed with one of five available ADAS functions, as well as two other pieces of experimental technology that track speed, location and route data.

Author of the report, research associate Aimee Cox, said “Despite their usefulness, commercially available crash avoidance features are still relatively uncommon in the registered vehicle fleet. Older drivers are also less likely than other age groups to have vehicles equipped with these features because they tend to drive older vehicles than the general population.

“The goal of this study was to understand how many crash involvements, driver injuries, and driver fatalities could be mitigated by these vehicle technologies for older drivers if all drivers used them and these technologies were completely effective.”

It was found that newer and less common “intersection-assistance features,” such as left-turn assist, would be effective in 32 percent of the crash scenarios older drivers find themselves in and would aid in the prevention of 38 percent of driver injuries and 31 percent of driver fatalities.

Middle-aged drivers stand to benefit from ADAS as well, as the IIHS found the features to be potentially relevant to crashes involving more than 20 percent of that age group.

The report explored the ways V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) technology, which is “still on the horizon,” could be applied to this age group to allow for “similar, more sophisticated features.”

V2V allows vehicles on the road to communicate positions, speed, and travel path with each other, allowing a driver to track the turning trajectory of a vehicle in an adjacent lane, for example.

The study concludes that “all drivers could benefit from crash avoidance features and improved headlights.

“More research is needed to better understand how age-related driver characteristics influence the efficacy of different vehicle safety features, but the evidence is already clear that these technologies have the potential to address thousands of crashes, driver injuries, and driver deaths every year.”


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