Over the last decade, auto safety has evolved from basic safety features like seat belt warning signals and child safety locks to high-tech safety features that are preventing accidents and protecting drivers. As auto safety innovation continues, today’s vehicles are the safest in U.S. history. Each year, Illinois auto injuries and fatalities require a Chicago auto accident lawyer who can provide legal assistance to victims of car accidents.
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Auto Safety and Accident Statistics
Motor vehicle crashes continue to be a leading cause of injuries and death in the United States. Each year, there are approximately 32,000 people killed in car accidents, and many more suffer severe and often debilitating injuries that cause pain and suffering for a lifetime. In Illinois, car accidents injure thousands of people who need a Chicago auto accident lawyer to explain complex laws and personal injury rights. Although auto accidents occur for a variety of reasons, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) suggests that new auto safety technologies could prevent many auto accidents on U.S. roads.
According to recent studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 10,000 fatal car accidents could be prevented or made less severe with new auto safety technologies. Due to manufacturing costs, these technologies are generally offered only on luxury vehicles, but advances in technology have made the cost of new auto safety features less expensive. NTSB is now recommending that government regulators and auto industry manufacturers include some of the newer technologies in all of their vehicles, not just the most expensive models.
Advanced Auto Safety Technologies
For more than 30 years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been a driving force for implementing hi-tech auto safety features in all new cars. Through its 5-Star Safety Ratings System, the NHTSA has helped Illinois consumers understand important safety features and purchase safer cars that help to reduce injuries and fatalities leading to complex legal issues that require a Chicago auto accident lawyer. Since 2011, NHTSA has helped to implement several new crash avoidance technologies that have prevented accidents and saved lives:
- Electronic Stability Control System (ESC) – helps drivers to maintain vehicle control is skids and sudden collisions.
- Forward Collision Warning System (FCW) – detects vehicles ahead and warns drivers of an impending accident or collision.
- Lane Departure Warning System (LDW) – monitors lane markings on the road and warns drivers of any unintentional lane drifts.
- Rearview Video System – monitors the rear view of the vehicle and helps drivers to avoid rear-end collisions. It also aids drivers in backing out of streets or driveways and parallel parking.
- Vehicle to Vehicle Communications System (V2V) – allows drivers to communicate with other drivers on the road. Drivers can share safety and mobility information that may help injured drivers and prevent auto accidents and injuries.
Proposed Auto Safety Technology
According to car manufacturers and NHTSA, automatic braking systems are the next wave of safety technologies that can prevent auto accidents and protect drivers. These systems can detect an impending forward crash with another vehicle. They first alert the driver to take immediate action to avoid the impending crash. If the driver doesn’t respond or take action in time, an automatic emergency braking system will automatically apply the brakes to help prevent or reduce the severity of the crash.
Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is triggered by sensors outside of a vehicle that detect potential hazards. When these sensors determine that a car is at risk for an accident, the braking system is automatically engaged. Statistics show that rear-end collisions are the most common form of traffic accident on U.S. roadways, accounting for one-third to one-half of all collisions. New automatic braking technologies are expected to save billions of dollars in economic damages and prevent thousands of injuries and fatalities. In Illinois, this can decrease Chicago car accidents and prevent dangerous rear-end collisions that require help from a Chicago auto accident lawyer for personal injuries.
There are currently two AEB systems available, mostly on high-end luxury vehicles, dynamic brake support and crash imminent braking. These systems have been available in the U.S. since 2006. Recently, NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced that 20 automobile manufacturers, comprising more than 99 percent of the American auto market, will introduce AEB as a standard safety feature on all vehicles no later than September 1, 2022.
Some of the auto manufacturers confirmed for new AEB systems by 2022 include: General Motors; Ford; Nissan; Toyota; Honda; Mazda; Mercedes-Benz; BMW; Audi; Porsche; Volvo; Volkswagen; and Tesla Motors Inc. These manufacturers, among others, voluntarily complied with this new safety technology without formal federal regulations, so new innovative braking systems may be available on new cars even sooner than expected.