Andrew Nickel, The Law Offices of Andrew Nickel, LLC
Vehicle safety technologies are mechanisms that are developed to counter the specific causes of road accidents. They’ve been quite effective, fatalities on the road have been reduced considerably since the introduction of these safety technologies. There are a variety of vehicle technologies that can help prevent car crashes from occurring. Read on for our guide to the best vehicle technologies to keep your family safe on the road.
1. Cell phone disabling devices
Cell phone distraction is among the major causes of car accidents. Approximately 26% of all car crashes are caused by cell phone use. While using a cell phone while driving is illegal in many US states, a large number of drivers (especially teenagers) continue to fall susceptible to the distractions of their devices. To counter this widespread issue, a variety of technologies are available that disable cell phone use behind the wheel, including mobile apps that disable cell phones in moving vehicles. Other devices prevent the car from starting if your phone isn’t secured in a docking station. This technology can potentially save thousands of lives every year if used widely enough.
2. Vehicle backup cameras
According to the National Safety Council, accidents while backing up cause 500 deaths and 15,000 injuries per year. Vehicle backup cameras provide a clear view of objects in the rear of a vehicle, allowing the driver to see children, animals, and objects behind the car, thus avoiding accidents. While many newer vehicle models have pre-installed backup cameras, they are easy to install into most older vehicles and can potentially prevent a fender bender or even a fatal accident.
3. Ignition interlock devices
An ignition interlock device, such as Intoxalock, is a breathalyzer personalized for individual vehicles. Before ignition, the driver blows into a mouthpiece which gauges the driver’s blood alcohol content, and the vehicle is unable to start when the driver is under the influence of alcohol. This device helps prevent accidents from drunk drivers who may think they are “just buzzed.”
The majority of US states have laws that require DUI offenders to have these devices installed in their vehicles for a certain period after the offense, but these devices shouldn’t be limited only to previous offenders. Even the most responsible drivers sometimes have trouble gauging whether they are sober enough to get behind the wheel, but an ignition interlock device can always answer that question. In the past decade, ignition interlock devices have stopped 2.3 million drunk driving attempts. So many more lives could be saved if everyone, not just previous offenders, had these devices installed in their vehicles.
4. A device that prevents sleeping at the wheel
Drowsy driving is a major problem in the United States, and it is responsible for an estimated 72,000 car crashes per year, causing approximately 800 fatalities. Thankfully, vehicle technologies are available that aim to prevent drivers from falling asleep at the wheel. Steer is a wrist-worn device that vibrates and gently shocks the driver when it detects them falling asleep. This device can be useful for those who don’t get enough sleep, commercial drivers, and drivers traveling on long road trips. While it may seem bizarre to wear a shocking device, drowsy driving is a serious issue, and these devices could potentially save hundreds of lives each year.
5. Lane change assists
Changing lanes is a risky practice that is responsible for a large portion of the car accidents that occur on the road. Drivers often have trouble seeing the car in the lane next to them, but lane change assistance technology makes it easy to know whether it is safe to change lanes. Valeo manufactures an alert system that includes a radar on each side of the car to alert the driver if there are vehicles in the car’s blind spot. While many newer vehicle models have this type of technology pre-installed, drivers of older cars can benefit from investing in this technology to make lane changes safer.
The prevalence of car accidents may make you fear for your family’s safety on the road, but a wide variety of vehicle safety technologies are available to help put you at ease and keep your family safe in their vehicles. While you can’t prevent other drivers from making mistakes, vehicle safety technologies provide some measures to allow you to take your safety into your own hands.
Content for this article was contributed by Andrew Nickel, founder of The Law Offices of Andrew Nickel. He has spent his entire legal career dedicated to all areas of criminal and family law. Prior to his years in private practice, Mr. Nickel spent nearly five years as a prosecutor in both Kane and Kendall Counties in Illinois, where he handled a wide variety of cases including traffic, misdemeanors, felonies, and DUI cases.