When choosing a car, you might be tempted to focus on the price, the gas mileage and even the car's expected reliability, but what's far too often left out of the picture is the car's ability to save your life when an accident happens.
Fortunately, manufacturers are making cars safer and safer each year. For example, as the Consumer Reports Guide to Safety Features points out, cars have added front, side and rear air bags and most have multiple airbags that cushion not just the head but also the torso and even the knees.
All of these features designed to protect you in the event of a crash have had a substantial impact on the number of fatalities resulting from auto accidents. In fact, in 2011, Car and Driver noted that the fatality rate for auto accidents has been steadily declining for more than a half century, largely because of these improvements.
This is good news, but as car accident lawyers in North Carolina can attest, injuries and fatalities do still happen when collisions occur because sometimes the force of the crash is just too much for the body to withstand, even with airbags and seat belts to protect motorists and cushion the blow.
Now, some industry experts report that a shift in focus is taking place when it comes to safety technology. Instead of technologies primarily designed for making you safer when a crash happens, new features on many vehicles actually help to prevent the crash from happening in the first place.
According to Edmunds, several keynote speakers at the 2013 Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) conference pointed out that new in-vehicle technologies aim to try to help drivers reduce the number of auto accidents that occur.
One speaker was David Strickland, Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who discussed new safety technologies in vehicles designed to prevent human errors that lead to crashes. Another, Jeremy Anwyl, is a former Edmunds Vice Chair who pointed out that a lot of these accident-reducing technologies have made their way into vehicles already but that more advances are coming onto the market.
Just a few of the many examples of features found in new vehicles that are designed to reduce crashes include:
- Forward collision warnings. These alert a driver when there is an obstacle in front of the vehicle that he is about to hit.
- Electronic stability control. This is a computerized technology that helps motorists to maintain better traction on the roads by applying the brakes to help direct the car if the vehicle detects loss of steering control.
- Lane departure warnings. These can help drivers to avoid swerving or veering out of their own lane, thus reducing the risk of sideswipe accidents.
Since as many as 90% of all accidents are caused by human error according to NHTSA estimates, technologies that give the car and computers more control may make a significant difference in reducing the number of car wrecks, no matter the type of car accident.
However, as experts point out, it is important that new safety technology is affordable so it can find its way into vehicles at all price points. The higher the number of people on the roads with safe vehicles encompassing collision-avoidance technologies, the safer everyone will be.
A car accident lawyer in North Carolina can help if you are injured in an accident through no fault of your own. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation.