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Traffic Inj Prev. 2015;16 Suppl 2:S109-14. doi: 10.1080/15389588.2015.1063619.

Comparison of Expected Crash and Injury Reduction from Production Forward Collision and Lane Departure Warning Systems.

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a Virginia Tech , Blacksburg , Virginia.



The U.S. New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) now tests for forward collision warning (FCW) and lane departure warning (LDW). The design of these warnings differs greatly between vehicles and can result in different real-world field performance in preventing or mitigating the effects of collisions. The objective of this study was to compare the expected number of crashes and injured drivers that could be prevented if all vehicles in the fleet were equipped with the FCW and LDW systems tested under the U.S. NCAP.


To predict the potential crashes and serious injury that could be prevented, our approach was to computationally model the U.S. crash population. The models simulated all rear-end and single-vehicle road departure collisions that occurred in a nationally representative crash database (NASS-CDS). A sample of 478 single-vehicle crashes from NASS-CDS 2012 was the basis for 24,822 simulations for LDW. A sample of 1,042 rear-end collisions from NASS-CDS years 1997-2013 was the basis for 7,616 simulations for FCW. For each crash, 2 simulations were performed: (1) without the system present and (2) with the system present. Models of each production safety system were based on 54 model year 2010-2014 vehicles that were evaluated under the NCAP confirmation procedure for LDW and/or FCW. NCAP performed 40 LDW and 45 FCW tests of these vehicles.


The design of the FCW systems had a dramatic impact on their potential to prevent crashes and injuries. Between 0 and 67% of crashes and 2 and 69% of moderately to fatally injured drivers in rear-end impacts could have been prevented if all vehicles were equipped with the FCW systems. Earlier warning times resulted in increased benefits. The largest effect on benefits, however, was the lower operating speed threshold of the systems. Systems that only operated at speeds above 20 mph were less than half as effective as those that operated above 5 mph with similar warning times. The production LDW systems could have prevented between 11 and 23% of drift-out-of-lane crashes and 13 and 22% of seriously to fatally injured drivers. A majority of the tested LDW systems delivered warnings near the point when the vehicle first touched the lane line, leading to similar benefits. Minimum operating speed also greatly affected LDW effectiveness.


The results of this study show that the expected field performance of FCW and LDW systems are highly dependent on the design and system limitations. Systems that delivered warnings earlier and operated at lower speeds may prevent far more crashes and injuries than systems that warn late and operate only at high speeds. These results suggest that future FCW and LDW evaluation should prioritize early warnings and full-speed range operation. A limitation of this study is that additional crash avoidance features that may also mitigate collisions-for example, brake assist, automated braking, or lane-keeping assistance-were not evaluated during the NCAP tests or in our benefits models. The potential additional mitigating effects of these systems were not quantified in this study.


active safety; forward collision warning; lane departure warning; safety benefits

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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