Is it possible that safer vehicle design is reducing the number of serious and even fatal car accidents on roadways throughout Texas and the nation? Safety advocates, including the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), think so.
Preliminary data for traffic accidents in 2011 is in, and it appears that fatal car accidents are at an all-time low since the government first started recording crash data in 1921. While a number of factors have contributed to the decline – including improved roadway design and signage, and increased efforts to crack down on drunk driving – safety analysts believe that improved safety features in automobiles may be the number one factor in fewer traffic deaths.
Thanks to computers, technology use in cars has increased in leaps and bounds. High-tech safety devices are not only helping prevent car accidents from occurring, but are also helping reduce the seriousness of an injury in the event of a car crash. From electronic stability control and air bags to rear back-up cameras, lane-keeping technology, blind-spot monitoring and forward collision advance, auto makers are starting to make increased technology standard in even entry-level vehicles.
Such technology will not only warn drivers when they drift from their lane, but can actually help them steer back into the proper lane. These systems also tell drivers, who they suspect are falling asleep behind the wheel, to pull over and rest. Camera and radar systems help keep watch over the road behind and ahead of vehicles, alerting drivers when they are too close to other objects and an accident is likely to occur.
While nothing can completely prevent car accidents – inattentive drivers are still to blame – the hope is that as technology continues to expand, what would have been accidents in the past will become close calls and injuries will be evaded.
Source: MSNBC.com, “Highway deaths plunging as cars become safer,” 5/21/12.