Technology is quickly changing the way we drive our cars. Just as GPS navigation altered how we get from point A to B, more fuel efficient cars have allowed people to drive long distances on less gas.
Does the next step involve taking the responsibility of braking away from the driver to prevent car accidents?As car accident attorneys, we believe that car drivers should always be primarily responsible for braking their cars. Drivers should be wary depending too much on computers when it comes to driving because one computer glitch might cause a car accident, leading to whiplash, spinal cord injuries (paralysis) or wrongful death. We are still hopeful, however, that new technology might reduce the number of rear-enders and fender-bender car accidents.
This new auto-braking technology is currently being developed by Volvo. When the new Volvo XC60 hits the market, it will feature “City Safety” — a new braking system designed to automatically stop a car some low-speed car accident scenarios. In one video test, the Volvo stopped just before hitting a car in front of it, preventing an auto accident.
City Safety works by calculating the distance and closing speed of an automobile ahead of it with a laser mounted near the car’s rear-view mirror. If this laser determines that your car is too close to another vehicle at certain speeds — by detecting reflections from license plates, tail lamps or car bodies — City Safety applies up to 50 percent of the braking power to prevent a potential fender-bender car accident.
The auto-braking system is designed to kick in “late and hard,” which will hopefully make it an uncomfortable stop. Volvo hopes that this will deter drivers from relying on the system as the sole means of braking — alleviating some of our concerns that many drivers will become dependent on this system.
The City Safety technology is not completely foolproof, however, because the auto-braking system will not work at speeds two mph or lower (so that your does not brake on its own in heavy traffic) or speeds of 20 mph or greater (Volvo contends that 75% of car accidents occur at less than 19 mph). The system will not always prevent a fender-bender even at speeds between 10-19 mph — though it might reduce the severity of injuries and property damage after the car accident.
As car accident attorneys, we are hopeful that this new auto-braking technology will have a positive impact on auto accident statistics, but car companies must be mindful of how they present this new car accident prevention feature. Hopefully, Volvo is telling car buyers that this new technology can aid the prevention of fender benders at certain speeds, and that it will not always be able to prevent a rear-end car collision.
If Volvo paints its City Safety technology as the best car insurance policy for stopping rear-end accidents, many more automobile accidents could result due to falsely informed drivers.
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SENIOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY & FIRM FOUNDER
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines