As today’s technology propels the world at an ever faster pace, it has also given rise to an adverse by-product. Impatience forcefully colors much human behavior. Instant gratification has become the new norm.
Almost nothing portrays this phenomenon as vividly as society’s current driving habits. Drivers engaged in another activity while trying to maneuver a multi-ton steel machine through traffic because the added activity simply can’t wait have increased accidents and injuries to others — and sometimes themselves — to a regrettably high percentage.
According to a pertinent Virginia Tech study which produced three years of data, driver error was behind 75 percent of crashes with distracted behavior as the underlying cause 68 percent of the time. Technological advances are here to stay. It’s unlikely that human behavior will evolve to a more enlightened state anytime soon. However, encouraging news beckons. Thanks to more technological innovation, there may be a winning solution to rear-end vehicle crashes due to distracted driving.
A safety system featuring a combination of various sensors will actually apply the brakes when a forward crash with another physical object is imminent. Generally referred to as automatic braking or automatic emergency braking, it bypasses driver participation completely when the driver fails to react to the sensor-detected danger. Primarily, the integrated devices utilize radar, infrared, video and ultrasonic technologies. Already in play, the technique has been an optional feature of certain makes and models since 2006.
Another design doesn’t prompt actual braking. Instead, a sound warning is emitted when an impending crash is “sensed”. It can, perhaps, buy the driver precious reaction time. Often, a matter of seconds is all that’s needed to thwart catastrophic events.
Research data from 2013 showed that both systems decreased accidents. The full-braking method reduced the amount of rear-end crashes by 40 percent, while the attention-grabbing warning lessened mishaps by 23 percent. The study’s team speculated that there would have been largely 13 percent fewer collisions had the systems then been standard equipment in all vehicles.
To evaluate AEB, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety initiated a study to analyze its effects against crash statistics from documented police reports. For its front crash prevention ratings, IIHS engineers began testing the capabilities of AEB at the Institute’s Vehicle Research Center in 2013. The results indicated that vehicles equipped with front crash prevention systems are significantly less likely to trigger rear-end collisions than those conveyances that lacked it. It must be noted that testing scenarios involved slow speeds of 12 and 25 mph. New things on the horizon have researchers investigating how well such systems can recognize pedestrians.
Overall, the value of automatic braking systems should be obvious. Projections from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cited that occurrences of distracted driving increased during 2015. However, a new plan from the NHTSA and the IIHS was recently announced that offers hopeful news. Over 20 auto manufacturers have committed to integrate AEB systems as standard features in all their new models for the U.S. market by 2022. NHTSA lists the car companies as:
Audi, BMW, FCA US LLC, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.
Declaring that the automakers’ commitment was “unprecedented”, NHTSA further stated that their action would bring safety technology to “more consumers more quickly than would be possible through the regulatory process.”
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