By Marcus Fernandez
Distracted driving caused 53,596 crashes on roads and highways in Florida in 2022. That’s 268 people killed and 2,574 injured because of a text message, a navigation device, or anything else that caused drivers to turn their attention or eyes away from the task of driving a car.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have technology in cars that would steer back to their lane or apply the brakes when their drivers ignore the road? The technology might help reduce the number of car accidents caused by impaired drivers that claimed the lives of 1,084 people last year, with another 3,668 injured on Florida roadways.
The automotive industry has introduced technology into cars that address unsafe driver behaviors that cause accidents, including systems that automatically apply the brakes and alert drivers when their attention wavers from the task of driving. Some safety features take advantage of technological advances to prevent car accidents from occurring, while others act to reduce injuries and damage to property when an accident cannot be stopped.
Developments in technology have come a long, long way since Henry Ford introduced the Model T. This is your chance to brush up on the standard features and options available in cars now in dealer’s showrooms.
Airbags protecting drivers and front-seat passengers have been required in passenger cars for over two decades, so they may not qualify as “new safety technology.” How they are now used in vehicles has undoubtedly changed over the years.
Although the federal government only requires airbags to protect front-seat occupants, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that frontal airbags saved more than 2,700 lives in one year. The auto industry has gone even further by adding additional airbags to the vehicles it produces. Some cars now have as many as six to 10 airbags to protect passenger compartment occupants.
As effective as they are in preventing injuries and minimizing the severity of injuries that occur in a crash, airbags have risks. For example, airbag effectiveness is based on rapidly deploying in a collision. Gases generated by a controlled explosion quickly inflate an airbag with tremendous force. Injuries to the chest and face have been noted, mainly when people are seated too close to the airbag.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, work is underway to develop an airbag with sensors that will detect the distance a driver or passenger is seated away from the airbag. The inflation force of the airbag at deployment will be automatically adjusted based on how far away a person is sitting.
2. Backup Cameras
Backup cameras are an essential safety feature that can help prevent accidents when pulling out of a parking space or driveway. These cameras activate when the driver shifts into reverse, and an onboard display shows what’s behind the car.
Backup cameras have evolved since they were first mandated for all passenger vehicles in 2018. Newer versions include visual guides in the display showing the vehicle’s width and path to assist a driver.
3. Lane Departure Technology
Drowsy or distracted drivers who drift out of their lanes cause accidents. Lane departure technology can help prevent these accidents by alerting drivers when their cars depart from their lane of travel. Some systems even take control of the steering to gently move the car back into its lane. This happens if the driver fails to react to the warning.
4. Blind-Spot Detection
Blind spots can be a significant driver hazard, significantly when changing lanes. Blind-spot detection systems use sensors and lights to warn drivers when another vehicle is in their blind spot.
5. Adaptive Cruise Control
Cruise control has been available in autos for almost 70 years. In its most basic form, cruise control maintains the speed of your vehicle at whatever it was when the system was turned on. The system disengages the cruise control if you engage the brake or accelerator pedal.
Earlier versions of cruise control did not monitor the distance between your car and other vehicles ahead of it. The driver was responsible for braking or disengaging the cruise control to avoid crashing into a car that merged into your lane or when traffic early slowed or stopped.
Adaptive cruise control systems rely on sensors that monitor the distance between your car and other vehicles to maintain a safe distance. The system automatically slows your car or applies the brakes when it senses it is too close to a vehicle ahead of you.
6. Forward Collision Warning Systems
In Tampa, distracted driving stands as one of the primary causes of car accidents. To address this issue, forward collision systems have been specifically designed to help mitigate the risks associated with distracted driving. These systems use sensors to compute the distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you. If the cars are too close, the system automatically reduces your speed to avoid a collision.
7. Automatic Emergency Braking Systems
Automatic emergency braking systems are designed to help prevent collisions by automatically applying the brakes if a collision is imminent. There are two types of these systems: crash imminent braking, which activates the brakes when the driver fails to use them to avoid a crash, and another type of system that slows your car to minimize the impact of a collision in case the driver fails to brake.
8. Cross-Traffic Alert Systems
Cross-traffic alert systems use sensors and lights to warn drivers when another vehicle or pedestrian approaches from the sides or rear while the car is in reverse.
9. Driver Monitoring Systems
Driver monitoring systems use algorithms and computer analysis to detect when a driver is drowsy or falling asleep. These systems alert drivers to help keep them focused and attentive. Some systems monitor a driver’s eye movements, while others include how a driver steers the vehicle to alert a driver that it’s time to take a break from driving.
Automakers keep adding more safety features.
When shopping for a new car, it’s essential to pay attention to other advancements in automotive technology that significantly enhance driving safety. Systems are available to automatically disengage your high beams to avoid blinding drivers of oncoming vehicles or vehicles you are approaching from the rear.
If parallel parking is challenging, some cars have systems to help you. Some methods take over the steering function to park your vehicle. But, you control the car’s movement with the gas pedal and brake. Other systems are fully autonomous and perform all tasks required to park your vehicle.
Car manufacturers have developed a system to reduce accidents caused by car doors opening into the path of another vehicle or an approaching bicycle. By utilizing sensors to detect potential hazards, a safe exit system effectively prevents occupants from opening the car doors until the danger has passed. This innovative feature enhances safety by ensuring that individuals can exit the vehicle safely in the presence of approaching hazards.
Get help from a Tampa personal injury lawyer. Accidents happen even when vehicles are equipped with the latest safety technology. An experienced personal injury attorney is ready to provide assistance if you sustain injuries in an accident. At Kinney, Fernandez & Boire Law, our skilled attorneys provide knowledgeable advice and professional representation to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us or fill out this form to get a free case evaluation.