Junk Car Prices May Increase as Auto Accident Rates Decline due to Safety Technology Innovations

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Self-Driving cars and new automotive technologies lower accident rates by 43% and impact popularity of auto salvage--possibly resulting in higher rates for buyers at Rusty's Auto Salvage.

Auto Accidents Decline

In the past few years, various innovations to automobiles have arrived on the consumer market promising to monitor driving, warn drivers of oncoming dangers, and make driving easier -- even removing the driver from the equation all together. But what are the tangential impacts of these features?

Safety features such as lane departure warning systems keep drivers in their own lane and remind them to use their blinkers when turning or merging. This feature helps lower the rate of side-swipe accidents and keeps drivers more aware while on the road. Other technologies such as forward-collision warning, adaptive headlights, and blind spot detection also keep drivers safer on the roads. Many of these features are standard in new vehicles as of 2019. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that these features can lower the rate of accidents by up to 43%, and injuries in said accidents by 64%. These safety features keep drivers more aware on the road, but are still a far cry from self-driving vehicles.

Experts rank the intelligence of vehicles on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being a fully automated self-driving car that has no road or area restrictions. Even with computerized safety features, most of these newer cars are at a 1 with no self-driving capabilities. So how far are we from a self-driving future? And is it really that much safer?

More than 90% of all car accident-related fatalities are caused by human error, so it stands to reason that accident rates would significantly decrease if humans weren’t the ones driving. However, it is difficult to test self-driving cars as rigorously as regular cars to verify this theory. Humans have driven cars for decades, so there are countless studies on accident rates, safety, driving conditions and more. It is difficult for makers of self-driving cars to replicate the scenarios enough times and in enough permutations to make solid claims as to the safety of their vehicles.

A future where no one needs to drive their car is very far off, though. Modern vehicles that claim to be “self-driving” are only a 2 on a scale of vehicle intelligence, can generally only be on auto-pilot while on highways or other big, straight roads, and still require someone behind the wheel to monitor the road.

So do all these innovations mean that there will be less cars totalled and less junk cars? Generally, yes. If a car is safer on the road and has technologies to keep drivers from causing accidents, there will be less damaging collisions and less cars sent to salvage yards.

Salvage yards give better rates to newer cars with usable parts because they can sell those parts to repair shops or car dealers. If the number of new junked cars goes down, the amount of parts to sell will also drop, possibly creating a higher demand for a scare product. Those selling their junked car may be able to get more than usual if the computer systems in the vehicle are still in good shape. Scrap yard enthusiasts who comb for parts for their own vehicles or to sell themselves may have a harder time finding valuable parts at typical low prices.

Drivers of cars with computerized safety systems may also find it more difficult to find parts and repair their vehicles themselves. If the fender is damaged, even if only slightly, this can result in very expensive repairs to the computer system. Doing repairs yourself will become much more difficult, if impossible, when safety systems are damaged.

If you have a junk car and are interested to learn to how to sell it and how much recent advancements in vehicle safety systems may have impacted the what your junk car is worth, check out our FAQs for more information.

However, the positive impact of these safety systems or an automated self-driving car is likely worth the expense and impact it would have on used car part sellers. There is no price on safety and these computerized systems are worth far more than their detrimental impact on the used car market. If you enjoy scouring salvage yards for cheap parts, you may find less affordable options as automotive technologies become standard in all new cars, but there are likely still many cars made in the past decade that will become scrap soon enough. Find out where to sell your junk car by visiting our service area page.

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Jeff Foreman