Cars Are Getting Safer, But What About Drivers?
It is estimated that nine out of every ten serious car crashes in the United States are caused by human error. Can automated safety features in vehicles help prevent these accidents? Statistically, the answer is yes. However, we cannot rely on technology to do all the work for us. As more and more semi-autonomous vehicles find their way onto our roadways, some people will take that as an excuse to neglect the act of driving and pay less attention.
Though our husband and wife law team applauds safety features in vehicles, we caution against relying on them. You should always drive defensively, and expect the unexpected. If you drive drunk, or drowsy, or distracted, and you collide with another vehicle, you can still be held liable for the occupants’ injuries.
At Grant Law Office, we handle serious injury claims for people in the Atlanta metro area. Many of them are caused by car wrecks, and could have been avoided if one driver had taken a second look, checked a blind spot before merging, or kept within the speed limit.
We hold people responsible for their actions. So, how are auto manufacturers doing their part to keep us safer?
Types of Auto Safety Features
Some of the more effective features (and their acronyms), according to Consumer Reports, are:
- Forward collision warning (FCW): This may be a sound or a visual alert, letting the driver know that he is getting too close, too fast, to something in front of him.
- Automatic emergency braking (AEB): When the system detects an impending collision, the brakes are applied automatically. There are two types of AEB: one for city speeds and the other for highway speeds. There is also a version that warns you of impending rear collisions and hits the brakes then.
- Pedestrian detection (PD): Sensors in the front of the vehicle can detect walkers (or bicyclists) and some versions of PD will automatically apply the brakes.
- Lane departure warning (LDW): This system will give drivers a visual, auditory, or “vibration” (haptic) alert when they stray out of their lane.
- Lane keeping assist (LKA): Similar to a lane departure warning, this feature will go a step further and provide automatic steering or braking to correct the lane departure.
- Blind spot warning (BSW): If there’s another vehicle in your blind spot, this system will let out an audible or visual warning, especially if you have your blinker on to change langes.
Autotrader.com has noted that virtually every safety feature we now take as standard—airbags, seatbelts, anti-lock brakes, even automated windshield wipers—was an “add on” at one point in time. They predict that rearview cameras, parking sensors, FCW with automatic braking, inflatable seatbelts, and adaptive headlights will soon be required by law in every car.
These Safety Features Are Not Required Yet – Good Driving Is
The safety features listed above, what Consumer Reports calls “life-saving technology,” were found in only 44% of model cars, light trucks, and SUVs that rolled out in 2019. CR encourages all manufacturers to include at least FCW and AEB, and believes the next step in road safety is “vehicle-to-vehicle technology, allowing cars to communicate with each other and coordinate traffic signals to help avoid crashing.” (CBS Atlanta)
That would be quite a revolution! While we applaud manufacturers who continue to develop tech to make us safer, they won’t solve every problem. Drivers still need to pay attention, drive defensively, and react appropriately—or they can be held liable, automated safety features or no.
If you were seriously injured in a wreck in Georgia, our law firm may be able to help you recover. Call (404) 995-3955 or toll-free (866) 249-5513 to set up a free consultation with Wayne and Kimberly Grant.
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