With several breakthroughs in car safety, road fatalities have continuously declined. According to the US Department of Transportation, the number of deaths which involved automobile accidents in 2008 is the lowest since 1961.
Meanwhile, the department also said that the first quarter of 2009 is the 12th quarterly decline in road fatalities. With this trend, some experts attributed this not just to stricter enforcement of traffic laws but also in some major improvements to car safety.
On the other hand, these are some of the technologies that have improved road safety:
- Stability Control System to Prevent Rollover Crashes
Some automakers are now introducing a new technology that will prevent rollover crash by automatically stopping the car and modulating the throttles when it detects that the vehicle may potentially rollover because of sharp turns combined with high speed. Car giants which provide this safety technology are General Motors (GM), Chrysler, Ford, Volvo, and Range Rover.
- Tire-pressure Monitoring
Most new cars are equipped with tire-pressure monitoring system that warns people if their tires’ air pressure is dangerously low. Sensors are built in wheels that will alert drivers through a warning sound, a blinking light on a panel, or both.
- Sensitive Airbags
There is a newly developed airbag that can calculate the vehicle’s speed, the weight of the occupants, seating positions, and the head’s size, allowing it to change its shape and air pressure to compensate the condition. (BMW has these airbags.)
- Collision Mitigation
A cruise control system automatically adjusts the throttle and stops the car to keep a safe distance from another vehicle. This safety technology also tightens the seatbelts and automatically hits the brakes when it detects that a collision may happen. (Mercedes-Benz has this technology and calls this Distronic.)
- Blind-spot Detection
This technology alerts drivers if their cars are going to hit an object from their blind spot. Usually, this “intelligent” system responds when people turn the signal and alerts them by creating a flashing light on the mirror, vibration on the seat or steering wheel, or a warning sound.
- Emergency Brake Assistance
This technology, which is different from an electronic brake-force distribution or anti-locking brake system, will provide additional brake pressure if it detects that the driver makes a panic stop (a sudden shift from the gas pedal to brake).
- Rearview Camera
With a camera that provides a wide shot of what is happening behind the car, accidental back-over while parking (the victims in this kind of accident is usually children and animals) can be avoided.
- Emergency Response
This technology, which can already be found in some Chrysler models, works by automatically unlocking doors and shutting off the fuel when airbags deploy.