Study: Mandates Impact Pace of Change for Car Safety
Dec. 4, 2019—Carmakers are making vehicles more crashworthy about three times faster today than they did in the mid-1990s, but those improvements and new safety features still take decades to filter into most vehicles on the road, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
New studies from the Highway Loss Data Institute show government mandates, voluntary manufacturer commitments and independent safety ratings can influence how quickly automakers make safety improvements.
"As independent safety ratings gain prominence, they have become an important marketing tool for carmakers, resulting in faster rollouts," says Matt Moore, senior vice president for HLDI.
Nevertheless, it still takes decades for improvements to impact the entire fleet of registered vehicles. Drivers don't immediately abandon older vehicles when automakers make safer ones.
A parallel study of the speed at which advanced safety features make their way into the overall U.S. fleet suggests that government mandates and voluntary manufacturer commitments also have a powerful impact on the pace of change. Since rear cameras and front auto brake features were required by a government mandate or slated for universal adoption, they are spreading even faster into cars.