WESTMINSTER, COLO — As added safety features continue to be implemented into new car design, industry analysts are predicting collision frequency to drop by about 30 percent by 2050. However, because of the complexity of new technology and safety features, repair costs will continue to rise.
Susanna Gotsch, director and industry analyst with CCC, presented an update from the company’s Crash Course 2018 report to the attendees of the Collision Industry Conference in Denver on April 12.
Currently, there continues to be growth in collision frequency, but this trend is expected to taper off. Gotsch explained that multiple factors have continued to push the rate of collision frequency — including more severe weather such as hail, extended winter weather patterns and a growing U.S. population that is putting more drivers on the road, although not more miles driven per driver. Higher speed limits across the country are also leading to more severe accidents. Forty-one states now have speed limits of 70 mph or more on some portion of their roadway, Gotsch said. And urban miles driven has grown over the past decade.
Change in consumer behavior
In the US, more than 85 percent of people still use an automobile as the primary means of transportation to work. During the recession, the average number of vehicles on the road did drop; this figure has been improving, but is still not back to its peak seen in 2006. We are also seeing a new millennial generation that is putting off lifestyle decisions — buying vehicles, getting married, moving to the suburbs and having children — all behaviors that impact the number of vehicles on the road and miles driven.
During recession, average number of vehicles has dropped. It is improving, but still not back to its peak seen 2006. Now seeing millennial generation buying vehicles, getting married, moving to suburbs and having children later.
Miles driven continues to grow, but slowly. And it is the byproduct of more cars on the road, not individual drivers driving more. And although vehicles continue to get safer, driver behavior remains risky. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Association, motor vehicle fatalities caused by risky behaviors rose in 2016 versus 2015. Not using seatbelts, speeding and drunk-driving related deaths all increased. However, drowsy and distracted driving deaths did decrease slightly.
Despite this decrease, driver distraction levels continue to rise, with more drivers on the road texting, reading emails, engaging in social media and talking on hands-free phones.