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How Collision Avoidance Technology Has Changed Auto Accident Trends

Since the 1960s, auto manufacturers have incorporated innovative technologies into their vehicles to make them safer. Seatbelts, anti-lock brakes, crumple zones, and airbags have collectively saved hundreds of thousands of lives. One of the most exciting developments over the last decade is computer-assisted collision avoidance technology, which claims to prevent crashes before they even happen. But just how does it work, and does it actually reduce collisions?

The legal team at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C. wants to help you understand the ins and outs of crash avoidance systems and how the technology has changed auto accident trends. If you’ve been in an accident involving a failure of a collision avoidance system, contact us today for a free consultation.

What Are Collisions Avoidance Systems?

More and more vehicles are being manufactured with collision avoidance systems as standard safety features. These systems are designed to alert drivers to potential threats and help them avoid accidents. Most rely on cutting-edge technology such as advanced camera systems, lasers, and short- and long-range radar. These collision avoidance systems are constantly monitoring what is happening around a vehicle. When a sensor is triggered by a potential threat, like another car or pedestrian nearby, the system will alert the driver through noises or flashing lights.

As common as car crash prevention technology has become, it is also relatively young. While radar- and laser-based systems began to be developed in the mid-1990s, they did not start becoming standard features until 2016, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced that manufacturers had agreed to implement them on virtually all new cars by 2022.

The Pros and Cons of Auto Crash Avoidance Systems

Car manufacturers often praise the safety features and technological innovations of their vehicles. While there is no doubt that technological advances in the auto industry can help save lives, there are pros and cons to equipping vehicles with collision avoidance technology.

Cars with collision avoidance systems can increase safety by:

  • Warning drivers of potential threats, allowing them to avoid collisions
  • Detecting blind spots so drivers can make safe lane changes
  • Braking automatically when drivers do not manually apply the brakes in time
  • Avoiding accidental tailgating through adaptive cruise control

However, the drawbacks of crash avoidance systems include the following:

  • The technology may not work correctly at all times — If a camera is dirty or sensors malfunction, the system may not respond correctly to warn a driver of a threat. Drivers who get used to this technology may become too reliant on it, giving them a false sense of security.
  • The technology will only prevent an accident if a driver lets it — A driver who turns the system off to prevent it from beeping or vibrating is less likely to be aware of potential threats.
  • Drivers think the system is driving for them rather than assisting them — A driver must still pay attention to the road and avoid distractions even if their vehicle is equipped with collision avoidance technology.

How Effective Is Crash Avoidance Technology?

When appropriately used, crash avoidance technology can be effective in helping drivers prevent accidents. A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) compared the rates of police-reported crashes and insurance claims for vehicles with and without certain crash avoidance features.

The results indicate that many of the most popular crash avoidance technologies may significantly reduce the incidence of serious accidents. For example, forward collision-avoidance assist helped reduce the rate of front-to-rear crashes by nearly 30 percent. Rear automatic braking systems helped reduce the rate of backing crashes by almost 80 percent when combined with rearview cameras and parking sensors.

What Crash Avoidance Technology Systems Are Widely Available to Car Drivers?

Crash avoidance technology is a catchall term for a range of different systems. Some of the most common collision avoidance technology features include:

  • Forward collision warning (FCW)– FCW technology can detect potential hazards when a vehicle is moving forward. The system will alert the driver when a threat is detected through an audible or visual cue. Some of these systems can detect pedestrians or objects on the road.
  • Front-cross traffic system– Similar to FCW technology, these sensors detect vehicles in front of a car.
  • Pedestrian detection (PD) –A PD system helps detect nearby pedestrians and alert drivers. Some systems will automatically apply the brakes if a driver gets too close.
  • Lane departure warning (LDW)– A LDW system tracks the movement and position of a vehicle while in a driving lane. If the car approaches lane markers, the system will alert the driver.
  • Active cruise control (ACC) – An ACC system regulates a vehicle’s acceleration and braking patterns to help maintain distance between other cars while cruise control is activated.
  • Blindspot monitoring – A blind-spot monitoring system scans the areas behind and to the side of a vehicle. If the system identifies something in the blind spot while the turn signal is engaged, it will alert the driver that a hazard has been detected.
  • Obstacle-aware acceleration – Some vehicles are equipped with obstacle-aware acceleration features, which reduce acceleration if an object is detected in the car’s direct driving path.
  • Automatic emergency braking (AEB) – The AEB system will automatically apply the brakes if it detects a potential collision while the car is moving forward. Some of these systems detect pedestrians and objects.
  • High-speed automatic emergency braking (HAEB)– This system will apply automatic brakes if a potential collision is detected while a vehicle is traveling at high speeds.

Contact an Experienced New Jersey Auto Accident Attorney Today

Crash avoidance technology may prove crucial to decreasing accidents on the road. But it is not foolproof. Technology can fail, and driver error is still possible even if a vehicle is equipped with technology that works perfectly. Drivers who become too reliant on crash avoidance systems may use them as a crutch, thinking they can drive more aggressively or less carefully because the technology will compensate.

All manufacturers of products have a legal obligation to make their products safe for the consumer. This applies to all car manufacturers. These safety systems are still evolving technologies, however, they are expected to function in accordance with the current state of the art for each system as delivered. In other words, they are supposed to warn and break based upon those system’s specifications as represented to the public by that automaker. If a system totally fails to operate, a person may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer. That being said, these claims are extremely expensive to prove and vigorously defended by automobile manufacturers, so it only makes sense to pursue a claim when a serious life-changing injury or death is involved. Common product liability cases that have been successful include exploding gas tanks igniting a car on fire and injuring its occupants.

If you were injured in a collision involving car crash prevention technology malfunction in New Jersey, the legal team at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C. is here. For over 40 years, we have helped secure compensation for New Jersey injury victims like you. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation with an experienced New Jersey auto accident attorney. 

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Since 1981, the compassionate personal injury lawyers at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon have been delivering results for our deserving clients. We are solely committed to helping injured individuals, never representing corporations. No matter how large or small your personal injury case is, you can trust that it is important to us.