“Leave the driving to us” has been the motto of the Greyhound Bus Company for years. Now national safety interests are working with automobile manufacturers to “leave the driving to your car.”

Moving several steps beyond seat belts and air bags, technology is being developed that will help cars avoid accidents in the first place and protect occupants when crashes occur. It’s all working toward the day car drivers will mostly be along for the ride.

Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Karl Brauer notes there’s a shift underway from passive safety technology to active in the modern automobile. Public interest groups are pushing to require backup cameras in new cars and automatic slowing and braking systems are being developed, note the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

New Systems Can Save Lives and Protect Property

The advancing technology will be welcome improvements designed to save lives and preserve property, note Florida’s Ormond Beach automobile accident attorneys at Johnson & Gilbert

In Brauer’s view, systems being developed to warn drivers—and, in some cases, apply brakes when a front-end crash is imminent—are the biggest technological advances since seat belts and rollover-avoiding stability control. He considers automatic breaking the most important safety development, especially in car-pedestrian accidents that result in considerable personal injury.

Systems Are Available for Mid-Priced Vehicles

Initially these systems were mostly being installed in high-end vehicles, but some mid-priced vehicles are now receiving the equipment and being evaluated by the safety organizations.

These evaluations are key components into determining how soon the developing technologies can be safely put into general use, note Johnson & Gilbert Florida auto crash lawyers. While backup cameras have been part of safety equipment used by motor home drivers for years, it is taking them some time to become standard features for passenger cars.

Back-over accidents kill nearly 300 persons and injure some 18,000 annually, according to NHTSA, which notes these accidents are especially issues for SUVs, pickup trucks, and minivans. An estimated 44 percent of the deaths are children under the age of five.

NHTSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation are under congressional mandate to require cameras for passenger vehicles, but have delayed implementation at the request of manufacturers who cite the added expense of camera installation.

Consumers Union and Public Citizen have sued the department to speed up the installation requirement.

Meanwhile, IIHS says it has tested 74 luxury and moderately priced 2013 and 2014 cars and SUVs offering forward collision warning systems, either with or without accompanying braking technology, Often offered as options, these systems can add $1,000 or more to the price of a new vehicle, according to IIHS chief research officer David Zuby.

The IIHS testing rated vehicles in three categories:

  • Superior. Vehicles receiving this rating offered both collision warning and autonomous braking.
  • Advanced. With this rating vehicles had both warning and braking systems, but did not perform as well.
  • Basic. This category consists of vehicles with warning systems and no automatic braking. In some cases, this rating was given to vehicles with both warning and auto braking systems, but which failed to perform as well as those in the other two categories

Florida automobile accident lawyers at Johnson & Gilbert, P.A., in Ormond Beach, serving the greater Daytona metropolitan area, have been helping clients successfully reach settlements in car-crashes for more than 15 years. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident call them at 386.673.4412 or toll-free at 800.556.8890 for a free consultation.

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