Memorial day weekend has come and past, marking the unofficial beginning of summer especially for New Englanders who have braved yet another harsh winter. An increase in temperatures translates to an increase of cars on the road. Drivers may be more distracted than usual during a long drive to the beach with a car full of excited children or a scalding hot summer day. Combined with the increased pedestrian traffic in the city and surrounding beaches, the warmer months can be a dangerous time for both drivers and pedestrians.
Recent advancements in vehicle technology aim to make the roads safer for everyone by using cameras, radar, and braking systems. While initially only offered in luxury cars, frontal crash prevention technology is quickly becoming more widely available on a variety of less expensive cars. The systems act almost as a second set of eyes and can apply the brakes when it senses an object getting too close, potentially preventing a collision.
Crash prevention systems include:
• Autobrake: as the name suggests, automatically applies the brakes when the front of a car gets too close to another object • Forward collision warning: audible and visual warnings alert the driver when he or she is getting dangerously close to another vehicle or object • Lane departure warning: audible and visual warnings alert the driver when he or she is drifting into another lane • Lane departure prevention: actually straightens the steering wheel and keeps the vehicle from drifting into another lane • Adaptive headlights: reposition themselves to follow and anticipate the curves in the road • Blind spot detection: uses cameras, lasers, and radar to alert drivers of potential hazards in their blind spots
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an independent research organization that submits vehicles to more demanding tests than the government standard, producing an annual list of “top safety picks” and exposing popular models that do not pass the especially strict crash tests. Most recently, the IIHS put several mainstream and luxury family cars to the test with their frontal crash prevention research. The organization acknowledges that while the program has been effect for less than a year, numerous major auto manufacturers have taken notice to their shortcomings and made significant improvements to their frontal collision prevention systems.
For each of the sedans featured in the study, the vehicle’s autobrake was tested at both 12 and 25 miles per hour. The cars were then given a score based on how well they were able to slow down and avoid the obstruction in front of the vehicle. Boston.com reports, “In the 12 miles per hour test, vehicles that slowed by 10 miles per hour or more earned two points, the highest grade possible. In the 25 miles per hour test, vehicles that slowed by 22 miles per hour or more earned the highest possible grade of 3 points.” In addition, vehicles were given 1 point in credit if they were equipped with a forward collision warning, bringing the total possible points for a perfect score to six.
Of the vehicles tests, four earned a perfect score. The BMW 5-series, BMW X5, Hyundai Genesis, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class all scored the IIHS’ top honors. The cars each earned 2/2 points on the 12 mile per hour test, 3/3 points for the 24 mile per hour test, and one addition point for being equipped with a forward collision warning system, totaling six points. The Buick Regal, Cadillac CTS, Cadillac XTS, and Chevrolet Impala all scored five points, also earning the “superior” rating. Thirteen other vehicles earned an “advanced” rating while three earned a “basic” rating.
“We are already seeing improvements from automakers since the initial launch of our ratings last September,” David Zuby, IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer explained. He continued, “”We know that this technology is helping drivers avoid crashes. The advantage of autobrake is that even in cases where a crash can’t be avoided entirely, the system will reduce speed. Reducing the speed reduces the amount of damage that occurs to both the striking and struck cars and reduces injuries to people in those cars.”
With pedestrian injuries at a five-year high, this technology will continue to be crucial in the fight against car accident injuries and fatalities. Frontal collision warning and autobrake are an added layer of protection especially during the summer months when foot traffic is at its heaviest and drivers are distracted. However, they do not take the place of being diligent and paying close attention to the road. If you or someone you love was injured as a result of a car accident, you are urged to contact legal counsel as soon as possible.
At the law offices of Altman & Altman our team of experienced Car Accident Attorneys has nearly 50 years handling all types of car accident cases-from minor fender-benders to major accidents that cause serious injury. In addition to having a reputation for helping our clients achieve successful verdicts and substantial compensation, we are available around the clock to answer any questions you may have.
To read the full article by the IIHS, click here.