Safety Paradox: More Technology Means More Totaled Cars

by Lawana Perkins | Posted on Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

Cars today are bristling with new safety systems – technology meant to help you avoid a crash or survive it. But expanded use of those systems has created a consequence that might surprise you: If you’re in a crash in such a car, your insurance company is more likely to total it. So says Automotive News (subscription required), which spoke with Bob Tschippert, senior vice president of Dallas-based underwriter Risk Theory.

Safety Paradox

He pointed out that these systems are expensive to repair or replace in the aftermath of a crash, making it more likely your carrier will declare your car a total loss. “In the past, if you had a front-end collision, you had damage to the engine or the front end,” Tschippert told Automotive News. “But now, with the number of airbags that can run from $1,000 up to $4,000 and all the sensors up front, you’re seeing more totals.” Makes sense, considering the increased number of airbag locations and the array of sensors at the leading edge of a fully-decked-out modern car – for pedestrian detection, emergency braking, lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, parking and more.

The report goes on to mention that the massive Takata airbag recall also plays a role. With a backlog of cars awaiting replacement airbags, insurance companies might be inclined to perform triage on crash-damaged vehicles. Another factor: The increase in recent years of miles driven and the problem of distracted driving, which of course has led to more traffic accidents (along with more fatalities and injuries).

 

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