Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Normally, making something safer means reducing the amount of money you need to pay to insure it. But that's not the case with today's autos.

The big picture: As cars evolve from being mostly mechanical to being computers on wheels, they become increasingly fragile, especially around the periphery. A CPU can sit safely in the center of the vehicle, but the sensors can't.

  • Chips and dents aren't cosmetic any more. They can easily push sensors out of alignment, or even break them entirely.
  • Repair bills have doubled as a result, according to AAA.
  • A windshield is no longer just a windshield. Today, it can house sensors for automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems. That's h0w a $200 windshield repair becomes $1,500 or more.
  • In the age of distracted driving, the most common collision is when the car behind you hits your rear bumper at low speed. That could cost $3,500 to repair if the ultrasonic system for parking assistance is damaged as well as rear radar sensors used for blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alerting. And that's if you can find a mechanic qualified to make such repairs.

The bottom line: Modern cars, equipped with modern electronics, are genuinely safer. They save lives and could prevent millions of injuries. But insurance doesn't just cover damage to humans. It covers damage to cars, too, and those costs are only going up.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Romney calls Stone commutation "historic corruption"

Sen. Mitt Romney. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Saturday tweeted a scathing response to President Trump's Friday night commutation of former associate Roger Stone's prison sentence, calling the move "[u]nprecedented, historic corruption."

Why it matters: Romney has emerged as the party's most prominent Trump critic. He sent shockwaves through Washington after announcing he would vote to convict Trump in the impeachment trial — becoming the only Senate Republican to break ranks and vote for the president's removal from office. Now he is the first major GOP lawmaker to condemn Trump's Friday night call regarding Stone.

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Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

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