Vehicle manufacturers are aware of increasingly unsafe driving habits and are attempting to change that behavior with technology. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has been critical of some safety advancements in the past, including automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection. Still, its recently published study on advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) claims it will be a life-saving game changer in preventing motor vehicle crashes. It forecasts that ADAS will prevent 37 million crashes, 14 million injuries and 250,000 deaths over the next 30 years. The change represents a 16% reduction in crashes and a 22% reduction in deaths.
What does ADAS do?
While not quite the same as self-driving technology, ADAS performs several key functions:
- Forward collision warnings: This warns a driver when he or she is about to hit something in front of the vehicle. It could be particularly helpful in helping drivers to avoid pedestrians and objects or rear-ending other vehicles.
- Adaptive cruise control: The driver can pick the amount of space he or she would like to maintain behind the vehicle in front, and the vehicle’s cruise control then speeds up or slows down to maintain that distance.
- Automatic emergency braking: This technology uses forward collision warning to automatically brake a vehicle, thus avoiding a collision or reducing its severity.
- Lane departure warnings and assistance: Distracted drivers tend to wander out of their lane, and this system warns the driver or adjusts the steering when the vehicle leaves its lane without engaging the turn signal.
- Blind spot monitoring: Rear- and side-view mirrors include sensors that detect vehicles approaching along the side. This technology also provides an alert if the driver engages the turn signal when there is a car in the way.
Changing the way we drive?
The ADAS is part of the Safe Systems Approach, which uses current technology and proven behavioral countermeasures to make the roads safer. Unfortunately, reckless drivers may disengage systems or push vehicles beyond ADAS’s capacities. Victims injured by unsafe drivers may still be able to file lawsuits for their injuries and should consult with a qualified attorney.