Improvements in motor vehicle design are a luxury provided by technological advancements, including car safety features. By federal government mandate, all motor vehicles must be equipped with standard car safety features – such as airbags, seatbelts, and most recently, back-up cameras – in new car models. A recent study found additional safety features could provide increased protection for vehicle occupants. Advanced driver assistance systems are quickly gaining popularity among drivers and auto manufacturers alike – and for good reason. Implementation of advanced car safety features has shown promising results in reducing fatal collisions and auto accidents.
Advancements in Car Safety Features
According to a study published by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) on collision avoidance system technology, vehicles designed with improvements in front crash prevention and the addition of adaptive cruise control technology reduced serious bodily harm and property damage claims. The study examined injury and property damage claims for a particular vehicle with optional packages, including various safety features.
Of the car safety features available for the vehicle model, cars with the driving assistance package that included upgraded improvements to safety features, such as adaptive cruise control, saw reductions of 37% in serious car accident bodily injury claims. Adaptive cruise control enables a vehicle to automatically adjust its speed to maintain a safe distance between it and the vehicles ahead. Considering the impact speed has on the severity of a crash, this allows a vehicle time to correct itself by triggering adequate stopping distance if needed. Other car safety features include forward collision warning that alerts drivers to objects ahead and lane departure warning that alerts a driver their vehicle is close to veering out of its lane, which could cause a roadway collision with an object, vehicle, or person.
How Safety Features Help
Safety features that alert drivers can prevent accidents caused by fatigue and distracted driving, where a driver’s focus is no longer on the road and surrounding environment. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving was the cause of 2,841 fatalities in 2018. While there is no excuse for distracted driving – and one should always remain focused on the road when behind the wheel – alerts about upcoming objects and unintended lane changes could prevent many fatal accidents by giving drivers more time to act in advance of a crash. Additionally, depending on the vehicle, some advanced safety features can even correct a car to help it stay in its lane and/or to stop a vehicle should the driver not react quickly enough.
The downside to advanced safety features like these is that while they help reduce serious collisions, they are neither widely available nor standard. Sadly, these safety features are often reserved for luxury models or are only offered as part of upgrade packages. While auto manufacturers are required to maintain current vehicle design safety standards, they are not required to equip vehicles with updated safety features like these, even with their potential to keep occupants safer. If such technology were implemented as standard, drivers would all have a greater awareness of their environment while on the road.
Relying on Safety Features Alone Will Not Prevent Car Accidents
Though many driver assistance technologies are now offered as standard in newer vehicles, many drivers are unaware of the limitations of these features. Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found that nearly 80 percent of drivers with blind spot monitoring systems were unaware of limitations or incorrectly believed the system could accurately detect vehicles passing at very high speeds. When in reality, the technology can only detect when a vehicle is traveling within another vehicle’s blind spot and many systems do not reliably detect passing pedestrians or cyclists.
Not only that, but nearly 40 percent of drivers were unaware of the limitations of their forward collision warning systems and automatic emergency brake systems. Drivers have been found to confuse the two systems and have incorrectly reported that the forward collision warning could apply the brakes in case of an emergency. However, this specific technology is only designed to give a warning signal, not to deploy the brakes. Roughly one in six drivers also reported not knowing whether or not their vehicle is even equipped with automatic emergency braking.
The overall lack of knowledge or understanding about the proper functionality of new motor vehicle safety technologies can lead to misuse and over reliance on these systems, often resulting in deadly accidents. About 25 percent of drivers using blind spot monitoring or rear cross traffic alert systems report feeling more comfortable relying solely on the systems, opting to not utilize manual visual checks of their surroundings for oncoming traffic or pedestrians.
Some Electric and Hybrid Technological Advances Go Too Far
Electric and hybrid vehicles are becoming increasingly popular, but despite advances in technology these cars actually pose a few unique risks not present with gas vehicles. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking to put an end to one of these risks with the passage of a new rule that would require “quiet cars” to make more noise. Electric and hybrid vehicles are considered quiet cars because they make significantly less noise than other vehicles. While this might be an attractive feature for drivers, it can be incredibly dangerous for pedestrians and other vehicles around the electric or hybrid car.
The sound of an oncoming car helps keep pedestrians and other drivers alert and aware of their surroundings, which helps reduce auto collisions. NHTSA hasn’t specified what exact sound a car needs to make, but requires the sound be clearly audible when the car is moving at speeds up to 19 miles per hour. Audible sounds from the car itself will not be necessary when the vehicle is traveling at faster speeds because other sounds like wind and tire noise will be able to alert any nearby pedestrians. NHTSA estimates the adoption of audible sounds on quiet cars could help prevent approximately 2,400 injuries caused by auto-pedestrian collisions each year.
Lubbock Car Accident Attorneys
Hopefully, vehicle safety standards will continue to improve and the federal government will continue to adopt new technologies as mandatory in all types of vehicles so all drivers have access to these accident prevention tools. In the meantime, it is up to each driver to maintain control of their vehicle to keep the roads safer for everyone. When drivers fail to act responsibly and engage in reckless behavior like distracted driving, innocent people suffer. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a Lubbock car accident, contact the personal injury attorneys of Liggett Law Group, P.C. today to discuss your case at no cost. There is limited time to act following an accident in Texas, so don’t delay.