Are Modern Safety Features in Cars Reducing Accidents in Kansas?

As thousands of people continue to die in motor vehicle crashes every year, researchers are putting hope in new driver assistance technologies to reduce crashes and potentially save thousands of lives. While it’s possible that in some instances technology will make the roads safer, there’s also reason to be a bit skeptical.

Studies have shown that the vast number of vehicle crashes can be tied to one factor: human error. What this means in automotive terms is that as drivers, we’re at our best when we’re paying attention to our surroundings. We also know that one of our biggest challenges is distracted driving, everything from checking text messages while behind the wheel to diverting our eyes off the road for other reasons.

Here, we’ll look at whether modern safety features in cars truly can correct the problem of driver error.

What Modern Safety Features are in Cars Today?

Driver assistance technology was developed to keep drivers and passengers safe in different ways. Some systems are designed to warn you if you’re at risk of a crash. Other systems were created to quickly take action to avoid a crash. Some of these new devices include:

Lane Keeping

LKS, or lane keeping support, uses lane monitoring technology to prevent drivers from unintentionally drifting out of their lanes. It uses information provided by sensors in a lane departure warning system (LDW) system to determine if a car is about to move out of its lane of travel. If that’s about to happen, the LKS activates and corrects the steering or starts braking to help return the car to its intended lane. 

Backup Camera

RVS, or rearview video system, is a safety technology that uses a backup camera to help prevent back-over crashes. The backup cameras show drivers an image from behind their vehicle so they don’t accidentally run into someone.

Blind Spot Detection

A blind spot detection (BSD) system gives drivers an audio or visual warning if there are vehicles in adjacent lanes that the driver might not have noticed. The driver receives an alert that helps them safely maneuver a lane change.

Adaptive Cruise Control

An adaptive cruise control system ensures your car slows down as the rest of the traffic does. So, even if you’ve got your car on cruise control, the system senses when traffic is getting slower and adjusts the speed accordingly.

Electronic Stability Control

ESC are designed to help drivers avoid crashes by reducing the danger of skidding or losing control from over-steering. This system is activated when a driver loses control of their car, and uses computer-controlled technology to apply individual brakes and bring the car back on track.

Intelligent Speed Assist

ISA technology alerts drivers when they exceed the speed limit, triggering audio and visual warnings to remind the driver they’re going too fast.

Today, car manufacturers are not just touting how fast a car can go or its sleek design, but the safety benefits they’re providing. And motorists may be responding: A 2018 AAA survey found that more than 75 percent of owners of vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems found them useful, and two-thirds of respondents said they trust the advanced tech features in their cars and would recommend it to others. Clearly, drivers like the idea of driver safety technology being used to help them drive more safely.

How Could Car Safety Features Lead to More Accidents?

One challenge with these systems in practice is they may very well encourage drivers to pay less attention to the road ahead. Think of it this way: It might sound counterintuitive, but studies show drivers could actually be more at risk of an accident on a quiet country road with fewer cars around than on a big city turnpike at rush hour. That’s because drivers could be paying attention to the road more closely during rush hour than when they’re alone on that country road, get bored with their surroundings, and allow their attention to get diverted.

That may represent one of the challenges of automakers designing cars with semi-autonomous safety technology: driving a car simply becomes easier and easier. Are we as drivers being given less reason to pay close attention to the road because our cars are watching out for us?

Another question that needs to be confronted in the future is whether these safety devices may simply alter the kinds of accidents that happen, with more crashes occurring as a result of distracted driving.

In Kansas, the number of annual car accidents has remained steady over the past few years, according to statistics from the Kansas Department of Transportation. That includes 58,829 total car accidents in 2017, 61,844 in 2016, 60,473 in 2015 and 59,533 in 2014. So, the jury is still out on what the impact of these safety devices will be on driver performance. 

If you have been injured in a car accident, it’s important not to wait or hesitate about filing your claim. Contact an attorney today and get started on the road toward receiving the financial compensation that you deserve.

Experienced Kansas Car Accident Lawyer Will Fight for Your Claim

Southwest Kansas pedestrian accident lawyer Joseph T. Welsh has handled cases like yours. If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, Joe can put his knowledge of the legal system and of how insurance companies operate to work for you. 

Joseph T. Welsh, Attorney at Law is a former U.S. District Attorney for the District of Kansas with extensive experience with arbitration and mediation in and out of the courtroom. Contact his office today at (620) 510-5030 for a free consultation.