The Pros and Cons of New Vehicle Safety Technology
When used correctly, technology can be a convenient tool to improve your way of life. However, if used incorrectly, it can often lead to trouble. Some believe that technology itself is going to be the downfall of the human race; however, the danger doesn’t come from the products themselves—it comes from how, where, and why they’re used.
The Human Element
When used responsibly, a high-tech gadget such as a smart phone can help you live a more productive life. However, when used irresponsibly—texting while driving, taking inappropriate or dangerous selfies, etc.—technology can become a dangerous distraction.
Unfortunately, the advancements in cell phone technology aren’t the only advanced distractions that can affect driving safety. The increase of added gadgets and safety features in newer model cars can be both a blessing and a curse for overall driving safety.
Vehicle Technology Advancements
Automakers are scrambling to add technology to produce safer and more dependable vehicles. Because the majority of car accidents are caused by human error, manufacturers are attempting to introduce applications and products into cars that will help increase driver awareness, decrease error potential, and eventually, eliminate the accident-causing human element altogether. Unfortunately, as with any new technology, the early versions and products aren’t 100% reliable. As a result, feelings are mixed on whether new safety features deserve concern or praise.
For years, cell phones have been frontrunners for driver distractions. As more and more gadgets are being installed into vehicles, cell phones may wind up taking a back seat to vehicle feature distractions. In a society where patience is no longer a virtue and convenience and entitlement take center stage, some new vehicle features are providing more frustration and distractions than safety.
- Cell phone and Bluetooth pairing. Vehicle/phone pairing has become a frustration for many drivers. Lost connections and spotty signals cause drivers to fiddle with the application while driving, which completely negates the purpose and increases their risk of causing an accident.
- Blind spot monitoring. Blind spot monitoring systems are meant to help alert the driver when a vehicle or object is in his blind spot. However, many drivers rely too heavily on the technology and fail to make a visual check for vehicles on the side or rear. If the system malfunctions or fails to detect a vehicle, a driver can think he is clear to move over; instead, he may cause a severe accident.
- Motion sensing. Motion sensing brakes are not 100% reliable. In addition to failing to see certain objects, the system can cause the vehicle to brake abruptly for inconsequential objects—for instance, when a plastic bag or other trash is blown in front of the sensor. Dependence on motion sensing equipment can also cause the driver to become “attention-lazy,” relying too much on the technology instead of his own judgment.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have recently released a research report on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology and its potential impact on safety. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx went as far as saying that he felt that, “V2V technology represents the next great advance in saving lives…[and] could move us from helping people survive crashes to helping them avoid crashes altogether.”
The excitement about this new technology stems from its proactive approach to vehicle crashes, aiming to protect drivers by preventing collisions in the first place. Specific features that are forecasted to make the biggest safety improvements include:
- Left turn assist: This warns the driver making a left turn if there is a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.
- Intersection movement assist: This warns against entering an intersection if there is a high risk of collision with other vehicles.
While the technology is still in the early stages of implementation, many feel that it is a step toward a reality where traffic flows can be streamlined and self-driving cars rule the road.
The Future of Safety
In addition to improving safety features for drivers, on January 14, 2016, the Obama administration pledged to expedite regulatory guidelines for “self-driving” vehicles. The pledge will increase research and provide $4 billion to help bring these autonomous vehicles to market. The explicit goal of this pledge is to strengthen the reality of decreasing human driving error, increasing passenger safety, and decreasing car accident rates. The future will tell if this advancement is worthy of concern or praise.
Come learn more on how technology may affect your family’s ride, by reading more of our articles on car accidents and vehicle safety. Our extensive research and resources can not only bring you up to speed on your risks but it can also help protect you and your family from a tragic accident.