The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has just published a study that should be of interest to drivers in South Carolina, and elsewhere in the nation. The study indicates that collision avoidance systems, such as blind spot alerts and lane departure warning systems, actually do help in saving lives.

Researchers studied more than 5,000 crashes that took place in 2015 and that involved the kind of situations where collision avoidance systems come in handy. Comparing crash rates between vehicles that were equipped with such systems to those that were not, researchers noted an 11 percent decrease among the former group in single-vehicle, sideswipe, and head-on crashes. Injury rates were also lower by 21 percent. Researchers estimate that 55,000 injuries could have been prevented in 2015 if every car had these systems.

Unfortunately, automakers have been slow to make collision avoidance systems a regular feature in their vehicles. Only 6 percent of new cars in 2017 came with standard lane departure warning systems, while 9 percent of cars in showrooms come with blind spot alerts. Though these systems are available as add-ons in 57 percent of new cars, they’re often found only in expensive safety packages, further limiting their appeal. Other evidence shows that some drivers who have these systems deliberately turn them off; the reason may be that the beeping annoys them.

This is unfortunate because drivers will have no excuse when they’re involved in a car accident. Those who are hurt by a negligent driver may benefit from consulting a lawyer about filing a claim; the lawyer can determine if there was any contributory negligence, hire investigators to gather proof of the defendant’s negligence, estimate a settlement, and negotiate for it. Insurance companies do all they can to deny victims payment, so if an agreement can’t be reached, the lawyer may advise the client to litigate.