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Is It Safe to Rely on Crash Avoidance Technology?

close up of smart driving dashboard in a car

If you are the type of person to keep up with nuances in the automobile manufacturing sector, you likely encounter stories about all the different types of crash avoidance technology being released on the market. It seems like automakers and third-party technology companies are always trying to develop new options to keep motorists safe on the road.

Most of us would welcome using virtually any type of technology if it meant that our road trips would be safer. What type of crash avoidance technology is on the market, and how effective is it at keeping us safe?

Crash Avoidance Technology That Is Widely Available to Car Drivers

Some of the most  notable onboard crash avoidance systems that have garnered attention in recent years include:

Lane Departure Warning Systems

This camera-based system, among other things, tracks a vehicle’s positioning within a traffic lane. It sends alerts to drivers warning them that they are nearing lane markers and when they have crossed over them.

Forward Collision Warning Systems

These are sensor-based crash avoidance systems capable of tracking approaching pedestrians, automobiles, and even stationary objects. This system’s autonomous emergency braking apparatus activates when it senses a potential hazard in your vehicle’s path to minimize the chances of a collision.

Blind Spot Monitoring System

There are very few if any, vehicles that were designed not to have any obstructed views. Every enclosed cabin passenger car has at least four blind spots around its corners, known as its pillars. These can make it challenging for motorists to see vehicles located in adjacent lanes, especially near the rear portion of their automobile. Blind spot warning systems generally consist of a camera mounted to each side mirror. That camera on either side is tied into your turn signal.

Once you turn on your blinker, the camera screen activates, showing you an image of your respective blind spot so that you can see if the coast is clear.

Rearview Cameras

There have been many stories in the media over the years about children playing in their driveways, their loved ones not noticing them, and running over them as a result. Anecdotes have also circulated about individuals being struck in parking lots because a driver didn’t notice them. Rearview cameras are a safety feature added to vehicles starting more than a decade ago to reduce occurrences like these.

These systems generally feature a camera installed along the rear portion of a vehicle near its license plate. It picks up what’s going on from essentially your trunk down to the ground, an area you would have no ability to see otherwise without the use of this camera.

Adaptive Cruise Control With Adaptive Braking

Most of us are familiar with the standard cruise control functionality that has come on vehicles for many decades. Newer ideations of this automobile aid drivers in maintaining a certain distance between their car and the one ahead. The adaptive cruise control accomplishes this by braking or accelerating on a driver’s behalf to ensure that they maintain the desired distance.

How Effective Is Crash Avoidance Technology?

One article authored by a researcher at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety published in the Accident Analysis & Prevention journal in 2017 addressed the effectiveness of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) systems and forward collision warning (FCW). The study’s author wanted to know if either one of these systems effectively reduced front-to-rear crashes.

The author determined that there was a 43% reduction in front-to-rear crashes and a 45% decrease in resulting injuries when a car featured an AEB system. Vehicles with FCW systems had 27% fewer front-to-rear crashes and 20% fewer resulting injuries. Automobiles with a combination of AEB and FCW systems have a 50% overall reduction in front-to-rear crash rates and 56% fewer resulting injuries.

The study’s author ultimately concluded that had all vehicles come with onboard AEB and FCW systems, at least 1 million crashes and 400,000 resulting injuries could have been averted in the U.S. in 2014. This statistic lends some credence to many safety analysts’ assertions that crash avoidance technology such as this effectively reduces injury accidents.

Crash Avoidance Systems and Young Drivers

One other study published by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) compared crash rates involving two of the same vehicle. One had onboard crash avoidance technology, and the other did not. The Honda tested had both lane departure and forward collision warning systems, and the Subaru and Kia had an emergency braking system.

HLDI researchers discovered that vehicles with onboard crash avoidance systems most benefitted motorists under age 25. Study authors determined that the emergency braking systems that Kia and Subaru models offered resulted in a more significant reduction in claims than Honda’s forward collision and lane departure warning systems did.

The insight the HLDI researchers gained from carrying out their first study let them delve a bit deeper into how effective crash avoidance technology can be in reducing young people’s crash rates.

Study authors determined that the combination of crash avoidance technologies, such as lane departure warning, front crash prevention, and blind spot notification systems reduced teen drivers’ crash rates by 41% when combined with the following technology:

  • Gearshift interlocks requiring seat belt use
  • Night curfew notification alerts
  • Speeding reduction programs

These features resulted in a 78% reduction in teen motorist fatalities and a 47% reduction in injury rates.

Study authors further determined that individually, the use of crash avoidance systems such as the following could result in:

  • Blind spot warning systems: 4,500 fewer crashes
  • Lane departure warning systems: 6,500 fewer crashes
  • Automatic emergency braking systems: 110,000 fewer crashes

How Can an Attorney Help if a Motorist Without Crash Avoidance Technology Struck You?

Auto manufacturers have been selective in installing crash avoidance technology on their vehicles over the years. This likely has a lot to do with there not being any state laws or federal mandates on the books requiring this technology’s implementation.

While this technology may have played a role in you not becoming entangled in some crashes so far, the hazards you face are still real as you share the road with motorists without it—and if it malfunctions (as inevitably can happen with computer programs).

You have rights if you get hurt in a car accident in Albuquerque. Learn how New Mexico law allows you to recover compensation when someone else’s negligence (or a product manufacturer’s oversight) results in your injuries by scheduling a risk-free consultation with one of our Buckingham & Vega Law Firm attorneys today.

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