If cars could sense a potential accident risk and alert drivers before a crash occurs, would this help to prevent more motor vehicle accidents?
Researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute recently launched a study to answer just this question. They will track almost 3,000 drivers with wireless transmitters in their cars, and some with receivers and audio warning systems. The test is to see how these devices help drivers avoid collisions during real-world scenarios.
Although the most recent motor vehicle statistics published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show an overall decline in accident fatalities over last five years, thousands of people in the U.S. continue to die in car crashes.
In 2010, 32,885 deaths and approximately 2.24 million injuries were reported in vehicle collisions. In 2011, 32,310 people died in car accidents. For people under age 35, motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death, making the prevention of collisions a priority in the United States.
Connected Car Technology: Is it the Answer?
Connected cars "talk" to each other through wireless devices that transmit a car's location, speed and directional path, typically at a rate of 10 times per second. Some cars also have the ability to receive data with the goal of alerting drivers of potential risks through audio warning systems. This provides greater response time, which may allow needed seconds to avoid an accident.
The UMTRI study, which is the largest effort in the world to test the performance of connected car technology, will track how these devices actually aid drivers in avoiding common driving dangers in real life.
Driving Dangers and Driver Limitations
Drivers have visual limitations to seeing potential accident threats in their paths, especially in heavy traffic, and many North Carolina car accidents, as well as those across the country are the result of human error. Common road dangers include:
- Sudden braking, which frequently causes multiple-car accidents
- Changes in direction without warning
- Failure to stop for traffic signals
Connected cars can help drivers avoid crashes, injuries and deaths when these types of scenarios occur by giving them more "visibility" into what is happening ahead of them.
The goal of devices like those in connected cars is to avoid accidents and ultimately save lives. These technologies are not devoid of risks, however, because they can sometimes cause people to rely more on the devices than their own attention or defensive driving practices. While the performance and future of connected cars is still being studied, proven devices on the market, such as seat belts, can currently save lives when crashes happen.
Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents occur even when people are careful. If you were recently involved in a car crash, contact a personal injury attorney near you for advice about holding responsible parties accountable and seeking compensation for your injuries.