If forward collision avoidance technology is out there and can help reduce fatalities and injuries on the roads, shouldn’t it be standard in all vehicles? That’s the NTSB’s (National Transport Safety Board) argument as they push for the use of such CAS technologies in all new cars.
Over 4,500 rear-end car crashes happen each day, resulting in over 1,700 deaths and 500,000 injuries each year. The primary reason for all of these crashes is the driver’s response time, whether due to inattention, high speed, fatigue, or reduced visibility. (Think sudden, slow highway traffic.)
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How Does CAS Work?
Collision Avoidance Systems work by first detecting a conflict. They then alert the driver and in many cases, assist with braking automatically. They detect issues through radar, camera, and light ranging. The system then warns the driver and prepares the brakes for stopping. If the driver doesn’t hit the brakes with suitable force, the system compensates by braking. In the chart below, the green arrows illustrate the decrease of lane departures, improper lane changes, unsafe speeds, rollovers and rear-end collisions when the CAS is used with the automatic braking system.
Prevention and Mitigation
This technology could help reduce the amount of rear-end accidents that occur each day. At the very least, it can help reduce the severity of such accidents, likely saving lives in the process.
The NTSB believes that the implementation of these technologies is delayed. They released a report as early as 2001 stating the potential of Collision Warning Systems and have since conducted many further studies of their effectiveness.
In 2014, 55% of new vehicles did not offer any CWS technology. Furthermore, the 41% that did list it, marked the technology as an optional feature – customers needed to pay for the upgrade.
The NTSB recommends that CAS becomes standard in all new vehicles due to its proven efficiency and safety. Though the NTSB cannot force these recommendations, they hope individual drivers and car manufacturers will make the right choice to save lives.
The Future of CAS
For collision avoidance systems to work most effectively, it would ideally be implemented in all vehicles currently on roadways now. Though that will take many years to complete, due to the amount of used and older vehicles on the road, starting now can still make a difference in the number of deaths and injuries.
Also, further CAS is coming. The next step is CV (Connected Vehicle) technology, which doesn’t rely on cameras or radars. Instead, vehicles would simply communicate between themselves wirelessly to prevent accidents and detect conflicts. Because CV technology is still in development, Collision Avoidance Systems and automatic breaking are the most effective, efficient options available today.
Like the NTSB suggests, safety should be standard. We don’t pay more for seat belts or airbags, so why should a system that has been proven to save lives—and been around for a decade—be available only with select upgrades?