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Vehicle warning systems save lives

Illinois drivers who use blind spot alerts or lane departure warning systems may be interested to learn that these types of collision avoidance features dramatically reduce the number of car accidents. Despite the obvious benefits, officials with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety say these warning systems have not been widely adopted.

An IIHS researcher discovered that the rate of sideswipe accidents, single-vehicle accidents and head-on collisions was 11 percent lower for cars that had warning systems active in 2015. Furthermore, the number of injury crashes in these vehicles was reduced by 21 percent. However, the IIHS believes that if all vehicles had lane departure warning systems, more than 55,000 injuries would have been avoided.

Although the data shows that the warning systems do work, it also shows that many people actually turn these systems off in their vehicles. It is believed that many of these systems use warning beeps, which can be annoying to some drivers. Furthermore, the adoption of warning systems in vehicles has been slow, with just about 6 percent of new 2017 vehicles including lane departure warning systems as standard equipment. About 57 percent of all vehicles for sale have warning systems available as options, but they can cost thousands more than standard vehicles.

Even if a vehicle is equipped with a lane departure warning system or a blind spot alert, the driver could still be held liable for a car accident. For example, if the driver turned the warning systems off or was driving while distracted, those who suffered injuries as a result could seek compensation for damages. A personal injury attorney could provide proof that the reckless driver was liable by using police reports and witness statements. Depending on the severity of the accident, a person could seek compensation for medical bills and other damages.