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How safe are aftermarket crash avoidance devices?

Assessing the effects of aftermarket devices on driving performance and safety

Crash avoidance systems are sensors, cameras, and processors installed in vehicles and they function by communicating with other vehicles. They are designed to detect dangerous conditions before the driver may be able to, and alert the driver, or modify the vehicle’s speed or lane position.

Systems that are included by vehicle manufacturers are carefully tested and regulated. It is also possible for vehicle owners to purchase systems from other providers and independently install them in vehicles. These aftermarket devices are not as well regulated, and it is not known whether drivers are able to understand and make use of the information they provide.

For the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Westat and the University of Iowa are assessing the effects on driving performance and safety when such devices are being used.

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