High-Tech Car Safety: The Pros and Cons
High Tech Cars and their Impact on Safety
Car technology has come a long way. From Bluetooth technology to airbags, cars are much safer to drive today, than ever before. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), advanced technologies and structural designs make newer cars a safer choice.
Data reported by the NHTSA states that the latest vehicle safety advancements helped increase the annual number of lives saved from 115 in 1960 to 27,621 in 2012. While these numbers speak for themselves, when it comes to high-tech cars, there are some benefits and drawbacks that you need to consider.
Self-Driving Cars and Safety
Self-driving cars have different levels of driving automation — and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) defines the following five levels of driving automation:
- No automation (level 0) - a human has manual control of the vehicle.
- Driver assistance (level 1) - the vehicle has single automated features such as speed monitoring and cruise control.
- Partial automation (level 2) - the vehicle can perform steering and acceleration, but a human can take over control at any time.
- Conditional Automation (level 3) - the vehicle has environmental detection capabilities and can perform most driving tasks. A human can still take control of the vehicle at any time.
- High Automation (level 4) - the vehicle performs all driving tasks under certain conditions. Geofencing is needed. Humans can take control of the vehicle at any time.
- Full automation (level 5) - the vehicle performs all driving tasks under any circumstance without any human interaction.
Now that you understand the levels of automation with respect to self-driving cars, it can be concluded that the higher the level of automation, the less human operation is needed.
Fully automated cars are not yet perfected and are still undergoing testing. They probably won’t be available for years. However, when it comes to the pros and cons of fully-automated, level 5 self-driving cars, here are some facts:
- Fewer accidents caused by drivers under the influence
- Fewer accidents caused by distracted drivers
- Fewer accidents caused by reckless driving
- Rain and other inclement weather can interfere with self-driving car sensors.
- Self-driving cars may not be able to prevent accidents due to traffic signal malfunctions.
- High-tech cars may not be able to interpret human signals, such as a police officer directing traffic.
- Total reliance on GPS mapping systems could lead to unfavored routes to desired destinations.
Can High Tech Safety Features Prevent Accidents?
While we outlined the pros and cons of self-driving cars and determined that they could very well help reduce the risk of certain types of accidents — let’s take a look at the safety features that are available to drivers today.
The following advanced high-tech safety features can help drivers avoid car accidents:
- Forward Collision Warning (FCW) - alerts the driver of an impending collision when traveling forward.
- Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) - automatically applies brakes to avoid or lessen the severity of impact.
- High-Speed Automatic Emergency Braking (HAEB) - automatically applies brakes to reduce the severity of a collision when traveling at highway speeds.
- Pedestrian Detection (PD) - detects pedestrians (some can even detect cyclists). The driver is issued a warning and emergency braking may be triggered.
- Lane Departure Warning (LDW) - monitors a vehicle’s position in the driving lane and alerts the driver as the vehicle begins to approach or cross a lane marker.
- Lane Keeping Assistance (LKA) - helps drivers to steer and maintain the vehicle within the driving lane.
- Rear Cross-Traffic Warning (RCTW) - detects when vehicles are approaching from the side or rear of the vehicle and alerts the driver.
- Rear Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) - detects a potential collision while traveling in reverse and automatically applies breaks to avoid or lessen the severity of impact.
- Lane Centering Assist (LCA) - continuous automatic steering to stay in between lanes.
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) - acceleration and braking assistance to maintain a safe distance between the driver and the vehicle ahead.
We May Rely on Automated Technology Too Much
While the current advanced features of cars certainly make driving safer, it’s important for drivers to understand the limitations that advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) come with.
According to a study by AAA, drivers are relying heavily on vehicle safety technologies. AAA researchers found that nearly 80% of drivers that had vehicles equipped with blind-spot monitoring systems did not know the technology’s limitations or incorrectly believed the system could accurately detect vehicles passing at high speeds as well as bicycles or pedestrians.
The failure to understand the limitations of automated vehicle technology can lead to misuse and excessive driver reliance on these systems. Overreliance on ADAS can cause serious accidents.
Who Is Liable in a High-Tech Car Accident?
When it comes to a high-tech car crash, there are many factors to consider. Even though a car may be equipped with safety features, the features could malfunction. If a car crash involves a safety feature malfunction, it’s best to contact a car accident lawyer to help you gather evidence and do some fact-finding to determine what happened. In addition to defective automobile parts or safety malfunctions, the following are some common factors that can contribute to a car accident:
- Texting while driving
- Aggressive driving and speeding
- Poor road design
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Contact a Kansas City Car Accident Lawyer
Being involved in a car accident is a scary experience — and dealing with insurance companies can be a harrowing task, especially when you aren’t sure of your rights. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, we can help. When insurance companies push back, we’ll fight them hard to get you the maximum compensation that you deserve. Our experienced attorneys are here for you every step of the way.
Call Peterson & Associates, P.C. today at (816) 298-8708 to speak with an attorney about your potential case. We are offering consultations via phone, email, and video conferencing for your convenience.