Car safety is one of the areas that has seen the most innovation in recent years, and to good effect. A study by Consumer Reports, analyzed by CNet, found that emergency breaking and blind-spot detectors could save 11,000 lives in the USA alone. However, despite the availability of this tech, uptake is low. What needs to change in order for car manufacturers to make implementation of this safety tech the norm?
The black box
A precursor for much of this safety tech is the black box. Increasingly used by insurers and considered for inclusion in the manufacturing of cars, black boxes provide a consistent and objective level of data that can, according to the Science and Technology Facilities Council (UK), reduce the incidence rate of accidents. If you’ve been involved in a crash and you’re asking yourself, “Should I get a lawyer for a car accident?” black boxes provide an absolute record of incidents that can help to protect drivers who were not at fault. Having this data freely available, and seeing the good behavior it promotes, will be a precursor to more advanced safety tech becoming widespread.
Rules and regulations
If black boxes can become the standard, so can other health and safety measures like blind-spot detection and emergency breaking. Ultimately this will come down to rules and regulations. Car manufacturers need to service an entire range of budgets and vehicle choices; they cannot unilaterally put tech into their cars, and won’t, if their prices will be massively impacted. Electric and smart car manufacturers, who tend to have a higher level of safety tech, may be the way forward.
As the current US administration phases out, observers (including the LA Times) have noticed changes to key regulations that would allow driverless cars to be exempt from many of the protections that regular automotives are subject to in crashes. According to the NHTSA, this is driven by statistics; most crashes are down to human error, and in order to get the driverless car rolled out and running on US roads, it can’t be that they are shackled to the same regulations.
As always, then, the cutting edge of car tech is leading the way to improve safety across the board. In order to get these safety innovations in across all vehicles, legislative change is needed. As is so often the case, that can only happen with the buy-in of big tech.