Insurer Supports New Step Towards Crash Resistant Car

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NRMA Insurance welcomes new collision technology that is believed to reduce low speed rear end crashes - helping to lower insurance premiums for drivers.

NRMA Insurance has welcomed new technology that helps drivers dramatically reduce the likelihood of being involved in low speed rear end crashes.

The Volvo XC60, due to be released next month, is the first vehicle in Australia to offer collision avoidance technology for low speed rear enders - the most common type of collision on NSW roads.

NRMA Insurance Head of Research Robert McDonald said it was hoped other car manufacturers would follow Volvo's lead and include the technology, which was expected to not only reduce the risk of rear-end collisions but help reduce car insurance premiums.

"While there's no substitute for good driving and concentration, this technology could lead to a dramatic decrease in the number of rear-end collisions,' he said.

The technology, involves a laser sensor at the top of the windscreen which detects if the car is at risk of colliding with the vehicle ahead. If the driver has not taken corrective action in time, the brakes will be applied automatically to either minimise the impact, or avoid it altogether.

NRMA Insurance estimates that there are about 50,000* rear enders on NSW roads each year, with driver inattention, usually to blame.

"According to our car insurance claims data, rear enders cost NSW drivers and insurers almost $200 million* a year and this figure doesn't take into account the emotional and physical distress of the collisions,' said Mr McDonald. "We believe this technology is a practical step forward in tackling the problem of rear enders,'' said Mr McDonald.

"Other collision mitigation systems currently available are usually part of the cruise control system and do not operate at common collision speeds. The technology from Volvo however is always operational and works for speeds up to 30km/h - the range at which the majority of collisions occur."

He said NRMA Insurance** is a member of the international Research Council for Automobile Repairs (RCAR), which has been testing the Volvo technology for the past three years.

"We are very confident that the technology will reduce the likelihood of the XC60 being involved in a collision. This is set to be reflected in our pricing, and we would estimate that the cost of a car insurance premium for this vehicle will up to 20 per cent cheaper than it would be if it didn't have the technology," added Mr McDonald.

*Based on NRMA Insurance claims data 2008.
** As part of Insurance Australia Group.

About NRMA Insurance
NRMA Insurance provides insurance for New South Wales, ACT and Tasmania. Policies include car insurance, home insurance, motorcycle insurance and more.

Insurance Australia Limited, ABN 11 000 016 722, trading as NRMA Insurance.

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Emma Garland
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