According to national safety studies, new auto safety features and collision avoidance systems have prevented approximately 10,000 fatal car crashes for American motorists. Advanced safety technologies are now used as part of national safety ratings for new automobiles.
Auto Safety Systems are Protecting Drivers
Over the last decade, standard auto safety features have evolved from seat belts, child safety locks, and dashboard warning signals to high-tech safety systems that are saving thousands of lives. As auto safety systems continue to evolve, Chicago car accident lawyers are seeing a drop in certain types of car crashes that often result in fatalities.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is responsible for conducting crash testing on motor vehicles. Crash test results are reflected in NHTSA Safety ratings that range from 1-Star Ratings to 5-Star Ratings. These ratings are available to consumers who are purchasing new vehicles.
NHTSA strongly supports collision avoidance systems with plans to make them mandatory on all new vehicles. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is now recommending that auto manufacturers and federal safety regulators include auto safety systems on all new vehicles, not just on high-priced luxury vehicles.
Collision Avoidance Systems
For 30 years, NHTSA has been a driving force for implementing hi-tech auto safety systems in new vehicles. One of the most important safety technologies that are proving to prevent serious accidents is collision avoidance systems.
The safety potential for collision avoidance systems is so great that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has included them in safety evaluation testing. Vehicles that are awarded top overall safety scores by IIHS must now have a forward-collision warning system with automatic braking. The IIHS reports a 7 percent crash reduction for vehicles with a basic forward-collision warning system and a 15 percent reduction for those with automatic braking.
Collision avoidance systems, also called pre-crash warning systems, warn drivings of impending car collisions. These systems use camera-based technology or radar to detect forward collisions when a vehicle is moving. If an impending collision is detected, the driver receives a series of visual or auditory alerts that warn of danger. Most systems also pre-charge the brakes and prepare the vehicle for impact. If the driver ignores visual or auditory warnings, some braking systems automatically apply partial or full braking force to stop the vehicle. This can occur at a range of vehicle speeds from 5 mph up to highway speeds of 80 mph.
Collision avoidance systems continually monitor the road ahead and issue warnings to the driver for potential collisions. Popular types of collision avoidance systems include:
- Forward Collision Warning – This feature alerts drivers, usually with an audible chirp, if they are closing in too quickly on the vehicle in front of them. If the driver ignores the warning, the brakes will be applied in vehicles with advanced braking systems.
- Lane Departure Warning and Assist – This feature uses sensors to monitor a vehicle’s distance from each lane line. If a driver crosses a lane line, the lane departure system alerts the driver. More advanced systems take corrective actions such as moving the steering wheel or applying the brakes to keep drivers in their lane.
- Blind-Spot Monitoring and Assist – This feature lights up an icon on the dashboard or rearview mirror or dashboard when it detects a vehicle in the driver’s blind spot. If the driver starts to turn into another vehicle, the system issues an audible chirp warning. More advanced systems can lightly apply the brakes on one side of the vehicle to prevent a collision.
- Rear Cameras and Parking Assist – Rear cameras are a popular feature that often prevents back-up accidents by signaling a chirp warning to a driver who is getting to close to an obstacle. These cameras are particularly helpful when backing into tight parking spots.
- Automatic Park Assist – This system identifies a parking space (whether perpendicular or parallel) that the vehicle can safely fit into, then helps the driver safely park in the space.
- Adaptive Headlights – Adaptive headlights are a newer collision avoidance feature in some high-end car models. When the driver turns the steering wheel, adaptive headlights swivel illuminating the road as the car turns. Adaptive headlights are especially helpful when maneuvering dark or narrow, winding roads.
- Drowsiness Detection – This system uses various methods to determine if a driver is nodding off while driving. Some systems monitor steering patterns and lane movements, while others monitor a driver’s eye movements.
Motor vehicle crashes continue to be a leading cause of injuries and fatalities seen by car accident lawyers each year in the United States. Although Chicago car accident lawyers witnessed a drop in 2019 traffic deaths, they saw a rise in pedestrian injuries and deaths caused by collisions with vehicles. Collision avoidance systems are helping to prevent traffic accidents and save lives.