Modern technology has improved the safety of driving in many important ways. From automatic brake systems to advanced airbag technology, many modern inventions have prevented car accidents and saved lives. There are some ways, however, in which technology has increased the risk of car accidents. Therefore, the answer is that technology has done both: increased and decreased the number of traffic accidents over the years.
How Has Technology Decreased Traffic Accidents?
Technology has come a long way since the advent of the motor vehicle in protecting drivers and occupants from car accidents and related injuries. Countless time and money have been spent researching and developing new ways to protect motor vehicle occupants from vehicle collisions. These efforts have resulted in life-saving technologies that have prevented hundreds of thousands of deaths over the years. Some of the top vehicle safety technologies today include:
- Seat belts
- Lane-keeping technology
- Anti-lock braking systems (ABS)
- Traction control
- Brake assist
- Collision warnings
- Emergency braking
- Pedestrian detection
- Cruise control
- Blind-spot warning
- Backup cameras
- Parking assistance
- Automatic headlights
- Vehicle maintenance monitoring
Some of these technologies have been integral for driver safety. For example, a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that seat belts prevented an estimated 329,715 deaths between 1960 and 2012. Seatbelts prevented nearly 15,000 deaths in 2016 alone. It is no secret that technology has improved driving safety in multiple ways and decreased the number of traffic accidents and deaths. It does not have a perfect track record, however, for keeping people safe.
Driving Risks Associated With Technology
Just as technology has the power to save lives, it is also capable of causing car accidents, in some circumstances. For instance, modern technologies such as smartphones and dashboard infotainment systems can be distracting for drivers. Drivers can also become too complacent when using driver-assistive technologies, resulting in delayed reaction times and poor driver decisions behind the wheel. Examples of technologies that have increased the number of traffic accidents in recent years include:
- Cell phones. Driver distraction is one of the main safety concerns associated with modern technology. According to the NHTSA, 3,142 people were killed in car accidents involving distracted drivers in 2019 alone. Cell phones are one of the most common types of driver distractions, even in states that prohibit texting while driving.
- Infotainment systems. An in-vehicle infotainment system is a combination of systems used to provide both information and entertainment. Modern vehicles come with large screens built into the dashboard for infotainment. While these systems can be helpful for a driver, they can also be distracting. Despite warnings against using these systems while driving, many drivers make this mistake and take their eyes off of the road, resulting in collisions.
- Driverless cars. Autonomous or self-driving vehicles are advertised as safer alternatives to traditional cars, as they allegedly have the power to eliminate driver errors. So far, however, driverless vehicle accidents have been caused by human occupants who are supposed to be paying attention and intervening to prevent accidents, when necessary. Drivers may place too much trust in autonomous technology and fail to do their part to prevent accidents.
These are just three examples of ways in which modern driving technologies can go wrong. Modern technology still has a way to go in perfecting motor vehicles and preventing traffic accidents. While advanced equipment that is currently on the market may have the power to prevent car accidents, some have contributed to the number of collisions each year. If you believe that technology contributed to your recent car accident or injuries, contact a car accident attorney in Omaha for a free consultation. The manufacturer of the technology may owe you financial compensation.