Do Not Look to Advanced Auto Safety Systems to Save Money

January 02, 2019

Advances in automotive safety engineering and technology have come a long way over the last half century and they save many lives.  Unfortunately, these advances will not save you money, at least not yet.

These advanced systems being referred to warn motorists of possible forward collisions, the presence of other vehicles in blind spots and when the car is drifting past highway lane markers. The best of these systems will automatically apply the brakes and/or take control of the steering wheel if the driver is not reacting quickly enough.

There is little argument that the technologies work as advertised. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in Orlando, estimates that if installed on all vehicles, crash-avoidance technology could prevent more than 2.7 million crashes, 1.1 million injuries and nearly 9,500 deaths annually.

So, why are these systems costing you more even after the original purchase?

The downside to the technology is that such systems can be expensive to repair. That is largely because of the sensors and cameras that are embedded into the bumpers and elsewhere. According to the AAA, even a minor fender bender can cost as much as $5,300 to repair if the vehicle is equipped with the latest safety features.

“Advanced safety systems are much more common today, with many coming as standard equipment, even on base models,” says John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “It’s critical that drivers understand what technology their vehicle has, how it performs and how much it could cost to repair should something happen.”

Even simple windshield damage can prove to be surprisingly costly these days. That is because of cameras positioned behind the windshield that require re-calibration if the glass is replaced. Also, some automakers require the use of original-equipment glass that meets certain standards for optical clarity. This can cost around $1,500, according to the AAA, which amounts to nearly three times the tab to replace the windshield on a car without the added technology.

“It is not unusual for windshields to get chipped or cracked, especially for drivers who commute on a daily basis,” continued Nielsen. “This may be an eyesore on a regular car, but when it falls in the line of sight of a camera or the driver, it becomes a safety issue that needs immediate attention by a facility qualified to work on these systems.”

If you buy a car or truck equipped with the latest safety features, you will probably have higher auto insurance premiums. That is according to a report conducted by the insurance website By contrast, the study suggests you will save more money on your car insurance by having anti-theft devices installed.

“You’d think that since these technology advancements in car safety are proven by experts to be highly effective in reducing accidents, insurance companies would adjust their pricing accordingly to reward consumers with savings,” says the website’s director of market insights Alysssa Connolly. “Unfortunately, that’s not the case because the sophisticated technology is more expensive to fix, and because humans driving these cars are often lulled into a false sense of security and can actually become more careless.”

Research from the AAA found that 80 percent of drivers over-estimate the capabilities of their vehicles’ blind-spot monitoring systems. Around 25 percent said they rely solely on the technology and do not bother performing visual checks to spot oncoming traffic or pedestrians. Let us hope that percentage improves.

As with other types of advances, there are many growing pains. Hopefully, costs of ownership, repair and maintenance of these automotive safety systems will follow suit of other types of advances and decrease over time.

Do you remember how much it cost to purchase the first calculator? $395. You may now purchase a basic calculator at your local dollar store.

Gorzelany, Jim. (2018). “How Today’s High-Tech Safety Features Are Driving Up Repair Costs: While advanced accident-avoidance systems may help save your life, they won’t lower your insurance premiums”. Retrieved from