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Will smart safety features put a dent in collision repair industry?

Advanced safety systems save lives, but ‘will thrash entire industries built on the fact that you crack up your car.’

By Douglas Newcomb 5 hours ago

2013 Ford Fusion Driver Assists. Photo by Ford.Driver assistance systems such as forward-collision prevention that take over steering and braking have been proven to save lives and reduce injuries. But as the technology spreads to more cars and prevents more types of accidents, it also has the potential to save car owners money from collision repairs — and put a major dent in the revenue of auto body shops and other businesses that profit from crashes.


That’s the conclusion of a recent blog post by David P. Carlisle, chairman of the consulting and research firm Carlisle & Company, after analyzing trends and data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Carlisle analysis took into account four driver assist systems — forward collision warning or prevention, lane departure warning or prevention, blind spot warning and adaptive headlights — and their potential to prevent accidents.


Using IIHS data and the company’s own “mathematical modeling,” Carlisle deduced that 30 percent of all collision repairs could be avoided once the systems become available in all cars. Of course, that could take years. But Carlisle noted that the IIHS's companion research agency, the Highway Loss Data Institute, predicts that approximately 20 percent of all registered vehicles will have forward collision warning systems by 2020. This alone could prevent more than 3 million car crashes — and have a major financial impact on the collision repair industry.

Carlisle “ran this through our model” and came up with a 40-percent deployment of forward collision warning systems by 2022. Using that percentage, Carlisle predicted that in just eight years from now, “15 percent of all collision repair jobs will be avoided . . . along with commensurate reductions in the markets that are associated with these repairs,” such as aftermarket parts makers and paint suppliers. He also pointed out that the collision parts market makes up between 35 and 40 percent of automakers’ parts revenue, which would also take a big hit.


Carlisle added that federal government mandates could speed this revenue decline for the collision repair business. In fact, the European equivalent of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the European New Car Assessment Program, already requires passenger vehicles to offer emergency autonomous braking in order to receive the agency's highest safety rating. And IIHS is considering rating active safety systems as part of its overall independent crash scores.


With such a government mandate, Carlisle said it’s “easy to imagine a 2022 future where the impact on collision repair jobs increases from a 15 percent decline to a 20 percent decline."


But while a 2012 study from the Highway Data Loss Institute concurs with Carlisle's assumptions of fewer crashes — it looked at declining accident claims on several late-model vehicles equipped with active safety features versus those without them — insurance premiums are likely to rise due to the high cost of replacing the sensors, cameras and other equipment when a crash is unavoidable. And with more cars going for pricier high strength steel and aluminum to shed weight, repair shops won't exactly be hurting.


[Source: Carlisle and Company]

19Comments
3 hours ago
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Do you ever wonder what is going to happen to a driver who gets accustomed to these safety features,  when he drives a car that doesn't have them.  Just another way we are letting  ourselves be dumbed down.


2 hours ago
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Just more things to go wrong on vehicles that fewer, and fewer people can afford. The more dependent we become on technology, the more we lose our self-sufficiency.
2 hours ago
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What this world really needs is something to reduce 'accidents' in the bedroom.
3 hours ago
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Who needs it? blow a fuse, run across a hacker and you're screwed...

3 hours ago
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My new car has all the latest safety features including front collision warning and assist, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, lane change warning, rear and side obstruction warning, rear camera.  Although worth many thousands more than the old car I traded in, my insurance bill with USAA actually declined a little due to the safety features.  So some insurance companies recognize that your risk of an accident declines with these features active.
2 hours ago
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If these features save lives that trumps any other concerns.
1 hour ago
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If people knew how to drive in the first place, all these gagets would not be needed, Bunch of idiot on the road, however if it saves lives thats great and the body shops can stick it
1 hour ago
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What the Automotive/Collision Industry needs, is competent experienced licensed journeyman, to run the show. Not a bunch of "Qualified Engineering College Grads", who have absolutely no technical skills, or any skills whatsoever. That being said, I would like to thank them all, for their incompetence. You have made my paychecks that much bigger.  
3 hours ago
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This is hysterical to me. The fact that cars are safer, and less human beings are being harmed and even killed, is something that upsets these people? Oh my god. Perspective, please. Also the entire industry would collapse overnight if these people did their jobs in the first place. Name one time you've gone to a garage ONCE and had your problem solved. You can't. Because you had to take it to like four other places to have a minor repair done.
28 minutes ago
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My first car was a 400 HP GTO no seat belts but I survived because I knew My life depended on me... and actual skills....It could be repaired in your own driveway with your own hands... Insurance optional too! Even though we maintained insurance without laws since humans were once upon a time caring and responsible without excess government intervention and lawyers on every street corner... We did not need to have a government controlled computer car...Government mandated insurance... We got a fee map at every gas station and did no need a cell phone bill or GPS. There was a 10 cent pay phone on every street corner and we did not need AT&T... We did not need many happy attorneys waiting to sue everyone... Recalls???... .A bazillion air bags and a car that talks back to you.. Tracks your every activity to use against you on a court of law... No thanks! Crashes are avoidable with skills patience and control... Government intervention and idiots allowed behind the wheel with minimal training is at fault... Don't trust your life to a computer that is outdated 6 month after you buy it and will fail soon afterward. Learn to actually drive, pay attention and stow away all distractions when you drive. Distain the government intervention and crap technology ...


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