Just How Safe Is Vehicle Safety Technology?
As newer and improved models of cars hit the market, manufacturers push the same thing: more intelligent forms of technology that increase the safety of getting behind the wheel.
However, while technology continues to grow and improve, the reflective studies related to vehicular safety do not necessarily show the results one might expect.
A LAX Attitude Toward Safety
The Verge discusses the potential holes in the high-tech protection of drivers. In short: despite the continued increase in driver safety technology, cars continue to pose a danger to drivers.
A study by the Virginia Technology Transportation Institute showed a disturbing trend, first off. This study showed that drivers often place so much faith in advanced safety systems in their vehicles that they engaged in distracted driving at a high rate. This happened most often with cars that had lane-keeping assistance features and adaptive cruise control systems.
Failures of the System
But these systems do not always work as anticipated. One AAA study showed that systems designed to detect pedestrians in the path of the car do not work as well as intended. When vehicles operating in sunlight at 30 miles an hour encountered an adult pedestrian dummy crossing the road, the cars hit the dummy in 60 percent of the cases. At night, the systems did such a poor job that AAA declared them effectively useless.
In short, drivers may create more dangerous situations by putting too much faith in faulty and imperfect technology. Ironically, the dependence on these features to keep drivers safe may contribute to crashes in the future, keeping the overall safety of drivers from improving.