Technologies such as automatic emergency braking, obstacle detection and backup cameras are becoming increasingly common in newer cars. A few years ago, these features were only available in high-end luxury autos, but are now being included in more affordable vehicles.
Unfortunately, the sheer amount of new features is overwhelming some drivers. In response to the confusion, the National Safety Council (NSC), in collaboration with The University of Iowa Public Policy Center, launched a campaign to educate the public on how to interact with these new devices, including a website, MyCarDoesWhat.org.
Some of the new safety systems include blind spot monitors, forward collision detection, automatic braking, stability control and pedestrian detection. But there are multiple versions of these systems, with different warning alerts, capabilities and maintenance requirements.
Some consumers report feeling uneasy or startled with the technology, unsure what the different alarm noises and flashing lights indicate. Worse yet, some drivers misunderstand what these safety systems are able to do.
For example, many drivers assume forward collision detection will automatically apply the brakes, but this is only available in some models. Another example is drowsiness alerts. The most advanced systems have a camera trained on the driver's eyes and are able to detect drooping eyelids and bobbing heads. But the systems in most vehicles can only detect lane drifting. Clearing up confusion about these differences is one of the key aims of the NSC's program.
Each new piece of safety technology has the potential to reduce injuries and fatalities caused by car accidents. Nevertheless, you need to understand both the capabilities and limitations of your car's specific systems. As technology continues to advance, car manufacturers, dealers and government agencies will have to make a greater effort to keep drivers educated and informed of these changes.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash involving a careless driver or faulty safety device, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our experienced auto accident attorneys based in Knoxville for answers to your legal questions. We are prepared to help.