Can Advanced Car Safety Features Prevent Accidents? - Mazow | McCullough, PC
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Can Advanced Car Safety Features Prevent Accidents?

As automotive technology advances, cars and trucks have evolved to become safer than ever before. But with self-driving cars on the horizon, it’s important to ask — can advanced car safety features actually prevent accidents? We explore the topic below.

The Evolution of Car Safety

Vehicles have come a long way from the Ford Model T and today’s vehicles have anti-lock braking systems, airbags, electronic stability control, tire sensors, and more. But at which point do these features become better selling points than real safety engineering?

First, let’s take a look at some of the top vehicle safety features in 2023, according to Boss Magazine:

  • Blind spot warnings. This system uses sophisticated sensors to detect vehicles in a driver’s blind spot and issues an alert when one is, which is designed to help prevent lane-change collisions.
  • Speed sign recognition. This uses visual recognition technology to identify speed limit signs and displays them in large lettering on the dashboard or in-vehicle display. Notifying drivers of current speed limits aims to reduce the number of accidents caused or worsened by unintentional speeding.
  • Auto emergency braking. This allows vehicles to automatically engage the emergency brake in dangerous conditions when the driver doesn’t respond to their external surroundings. Not only does this aim to help prevent accidents, it attempts to lessen the severity of collisions that do happen.

Do These Features Really Prevent Accidents?

While these safety features intend to drastically reduce the number of collisions on the road, they aren’t without caveats. Many vehicle systems misread information or misjudge the movements of other cars, engaging safety features that don’t need to be engaged.

If the driver isn’t expecting this, the feature itself could inadvertently cause a crash. Plus, in cases of inclement weather and dirt buildup, the sensors may not be able to work properly, reveals AARP. 

Drivers may also rely too much on safety features instead of keeping their eyes on the road. A recent study by driving education provider Aceable showed some startling statistics about the driving behaviors of people who own these tech-forward vehicles:

  • 61% are more comfortable looking away from the road when driving
  • 58% of people with pedestrian detection are less likely check for people
  • 50% of people with drowsiness detection are more likely to drive when tired
  • 3 in 10 people are spending more time on their phones behind the wheel
  • Owners of self-driving cars are 106% more likely to have an accident

In another study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more data was revealed that suggests drivers with advanced safety features often overestimate the capabilities of these systems, says USA Today:

  • 80% of drivers don’t understand the limitations of their systems
  • 40% of drivers don’t know the difference between certain features
  • 29% of drivers are comfortable engaging in other activities with cruise control engaged
  • 25% of drivers don’t look for oncoming traffic before changing lanes

Consider Increased Repair and Maintenance Costs

Vehicles with advanced safety features are also difficult and expensive to repair. A study conducted by AAA determined that the average cost to repair these cars after a collision is double that of a conventional vehicle. The report acknowledges that even fender-benders and other minimal incidents can add as much as $3,000 in additional repair costs due to the specialty sensors.

Why Are Advanced Features So Popular?

The potential risks of advanced vehicle safety systems have largely been glossed over by good marketing, with drivers eager to try out new technology that promises almost futuristic operation.

Greg Bannon, the Director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations at AAA, tells Scientific American that “there’s often a gap between what is marketed in those systems, both in the naming and in advertisements, and what the systems actually do in real life. The gap between those two things makes it a very dangerous situation,” he says.

AAA’s Technical Director William Horrey also shares with Scientific that many of the safety features currently on the market are only intended to be used in specific circumstances. For example, advanced cruise control is intended for highways, not city driving. And when drivers misuse these features, collisions occur.

Injured In an Accident? We Can Help

If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident where your car malfunctioned or failed to engage critical safety features, you may be able to hold the manufacturer financially liable. Contact Mazow | McCullough, PC today to learn more or to schedule your free initial consultation to discuss what legal options may be available to you.

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