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The unforeseen costs of vehicle safety

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The unforeseen costs of vehicle safety

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The continued effort to make our cars and driving safer has an unforeseen cost. That of repairs. A plain plastic or resin composite bumper replacement used to be relatively cheap. The same bumper with all the lane keep sensors, radar or lidar, cameras and all the other technology, costs a whole lot more.

I hadn’t considered this in depth but had discussed it with others around the dealerships. That is until I read a piece on Ars Technica that talked about the same thing. They quote the AAA as saying that parts replacement after a collision is now much more expensive than ever before.

The AAA lists five of the main safety features currently in our cars and assesses how much they cost to repair now with the technology included and the results do not make for comfortable reading.

  • Front radar sensors used with automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control systems cost between $900 and $1,300.
  • Rear radar sensors used with blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert systems cost between $850 and $2,050.
  • Front camera sensors used with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane keeping systems (does not include the cost of a replacement windshield) cost between $850 and $1,900.
  • Front, side mirror, or rear camera sensors used with around-view systems cost between $500 and $1,100.
  • Front or rear ultrasonic sensors used with parking assist systems cost between $500 and $1,300.

(Prices in US $. Taken directly from Ars Technica).

How much is your safety worth?
This is not an argument against safety technology. Far from it. I think the innovations in vehicle safety are awesome and anything that makes the road safer for users is a good thing. However, these increased costs are, at some point going to be felt in our insurance premiums.

No insurance company is going to absorb a significant rise in repair costs without passing it on to policy holders. While we may (hopefully) endure fewer collisions, those that still happen are going to cost anything up to three times as much to repair as they used to. Insurance companies may eventually have to deal with fewer claims due to this technology, but until they do, we will begin to be charged for it soon enough.

I think the advancement in vehicle safety is a positive move and along with alternative fuels, are the best direction the auto industry could possibly travel right now. The sooner all cars have this technology the better!

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