Vehicle safety technology has come a long way since people began traveling by car, but there is always room for improvement when it comes to preventing accidents and keeping people safer when crashes do occur. Just as seat belts, crumple zones and air bags were once new innovations, today's new technologies may soon be universally used to help keep motorists safe in Maryland and throughout the nation.
One revolutionary new safety feature that is already entering the mainstream is the rear-view camera, or backup camera. On average, backup accidents kill about 210 people per year and injure about 15,000 more, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In recent years, many vehicle manufacturers have begun offering built-in rear-view cameras to help drivers see behind their vehicles while driving in reverse. By May 2018, the federal government has ordered that all new passenger vehicles must be equipped with backup cameras. The change is expected to save as many as 69 lives per year, many of them elderly individuals or children under the age of five.
Car-to-car communication systems
Another even more high-tech safety feature that may soon be widely incorporated in passenger vehicles is a type of communication system that allows vehicles to trade information directly with one another via wireless networks. Known as vehicle-to-vehicle communication, or V2V, these systems allow cars to broadcast their locations, directions, speed and other data in order to help predict and avoid traffic collisions. Widespread adoption of V2V technology could save about 1,000 lives per year on American roads, the NHTSA predicts.
One obstacle with V2V systems is that their effectiveness depends largely on widespread implementation; the technology only works among similarly equipped vehicles. To make the technology universally compatible among different types of vehicles, all of the major car manufacturers must cooperate with to ensure that the systems they develop can communicate with one another.
Yet another potential innovation that could be seen in the years to come is expanded use of alcohol-testing devices designed to keep impaired drivers off the road and prevent drunk driving accidents. These devices, which are already required for some convicted drunk drivers in Maryland, require the driver to provide a breath sample before starting the vehicle. If the machine determines that the driver's blood alcohol content (BAC) is not within an acceptable range, the engine will not start.
Although there is currently no indication that widespread interlock adoption is in store for the near future, a study published recently in the American Journal of Public Health estimates that including an ignition interlock device on every new vehicle sold in the United States over the next 15 years could prevent about 59,000 fatalities as well as 1.25 million nonfatal injuries. Overall, the measure could drastically reduce fatal drunk driving accidents - by as much as 89 percent, according to the study's authors. Given these dramatic benefits in terms of human life and safety, this is one safety innovation that could potentially gain traction in the mainstream during the coming years.
Take action to protect your interests after a crash
If you or someone close to you has been hurt in a traffic accident in Maryland or the surrounding areas, be sure to talk things over with a personal injury lawyer to learn about your legal rights and the options available for pursuing compensation. Contact Reinstein, Glackin, Patterson & Herriott, LLC, to arrange a personalized consultation.