With countless safety options available on newer vehicles today, it is understandable the choices can be overwhelming. However, it’s worth taking the time to understand, even in simple terms, what options are available as many of them are expected to, or have already proven to, assist in preventing car crashes resulting in serious personal injury or death based on National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA) studies. In Part 1 of our personal injury blog on Driver Assistance Technologies- Sorting Through the Options, we explained the features of Automatic Emergency Braking Systems (AEB), Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking (PAEB), and Backup Cameras, or rearview cameras. In May 2018, backup cameras will be mandatory on all new vehicles. As of now, backup cameras are the only one of these technologies that will be required shortly, but as further crash and safety studies become available, the NHTSA may add further features to the list of required technologies to be mandatory in new vehicles. In Part 2 of this Tapalian Law personal injury blog, we will look at the features and benefits of Forward Collision Warning Systems, Lane Assist or Lane Keeping Support Systems, Blind Spot Detection, and Automatic Crash Notification Systems (ACN or Call 911). These selections are available as options on many of the newer vehicles today.
Forward Collision Warning System (FCW)
How They Work: A forward collision warning system works by using sensors to detect a vehicles speed, speed of the vehicle in front of it, and the distance between the two vehicles with the goal of avoiding or mitigating a rear-end crash. If the rear vehicle is getting too close to the stationary or slower moving automobile ahead of it, the FCW system will warn the driver of an impending crash so the driver is alerted to apply the brakes or steer in another direction to avoid a potential accident. The type of warning may be an audio or visual alert.
Unlike the AEB systems, the forward collision warning system does not take control of the car and apply the brakes itself. It is up to the vehicle operator to heed the warning and take action to prevent a crash. NHTSA lists certain FCW systems under their Recommended Safety Technologies and urge those in the market for a new vehicle to seek out this safety technology.
Lane Assist- Lane Departure/Lane Keeping Support Systems
How They Work: Lane departure warning (LDW) systems and lane keeping systems (LKS) are similar in that they both use cameras to prevent motorists from unintentionally drifting out of their traffic lane. Cameras monitor lane markings on the road and detect when the vehicle is veering out of the lane. The LDW system will provide an audio or visual alert to the driver to correct the direction of the vehicle. It does not correct the vehicle for the driver. The LKS, on the other hand, does in fact automatically correct the steering and/or braking of the vehicle to return it to its original lane in order to prevent a crash with another car, truck, or SUV. Though not required on vehicles, this technology may help in preventing both rollover accidents and sideswipe accidents. The features can also be helpful in alerting drivers that may be distracted or sleepy, to re-focus their attention on the road.
Blind Spot Detection
How They Work: Blind spot detection (BSD) systems work by using a camera or sensor to detect vehicles in adjacent lanes and warn the driver of approaching vehicles that may be in the driver’s “blind spot”. This can be especially helpful to a driver attempting to change lanes. The warning may be audio or visual, or both, depending on the particular system. Some blind spot technologies provide a warning within a certain space range or just if the vehicles turn signal is on. This could be very useful in the prevention of sideswipe crashes.
Automatic Crash Notification Systems (ACN)
How They Work: Automatic crash notification systems, also known as a 911 notification, are a safety feature designed to notify emergency personnel when a car crash has occurred and where the vehicle is located. It does so by using a sensor that detects when an airbag has deployed or when there has been a sudden abnormal deceleration in vehicle speed. The crash notification system communicates with emergency responders to provide location and other vehicle information in order to accelerate assistance to the crash site.
This type of crash notification system can be especially useful in rural areas where witnesses and bystanders are less likely to be near the scene of a crash, therefore delaying the notification of emergency help. The quicker medical assistance can reach an injured victim, the better their chance of survival or less serious injury, depending on the severity of the crash.
Have You Been Hurt in a Car Accident in RI or MA?
It is exciting to see how vehicle technology has progressed over a short amount of time and continues to get better each year. As more safety features are added, we hope as personal injury attorneys to see a strong link to diminished crash injuries and fatalities due to car accidents. No matter how advanced our automobiles get, there is no substitute for a focused and undistracted driver at the wheel. In 2016 alone, over 37,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents. Many more suffered serious, even life-threatening injuries at the hands of an at-fault driver, whether it be a drunk driver, a texting driver, or an otherwise distracted driver. If you or a loved one have been hurt in a car crash by an at-fault driver, do not hesitate to seek immediate legal representation. You, or your loved one, may be eligible to seek compensation for your injuries, including medical expenses and pain and suffering. To determine if you have a valid personal injury claim against another driver who has hurt you, seek the experience of Tapalian Law. Attorney David Tapalian is a skilled accident injury attorney who has helped numerous Rhode Island and Massachusetts accident victims win compensation for their injuries. Call Tapalian Law today at our Providence office for a free, no obligations consultation at 401-552-5000, or contact us via our online form.