New Technology Helps Drivers Put Their Phones Down

The New York Times recently reported about new devices being installed into cars, which allows drivers to put their phones down when on the road.

In 2008, 918,000 hands-free systems were installed in cars, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. By the end of 2009, the industry group estimates, that figure will climb to 1.6 million systems. In many cases, hands-free kits are packaged with other options that together cost around $1,000. “We are trying to take what people are doing and make it safer,” said Doug VanDagens, the director of Ford’s Sync project. “Voice provides the safest options and keeps the driver’s eyes on the road.”

Manufacturers of such systems argue that their products make driving safer. As proof, they point to a Virgina TechTransportation Institute study published this summer that concluded that hands-free conversations were only a minor distraction to drivers.

But not everyone agrees that this technology is the safest option.

Studies from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, for example, show that drivers are four times more likely to have a private porn in the city if they are talking on the phone — hands-free or not — while driving.

The reason, researchers say, is that drivers often become engrossed in their conversation, rather than focusing on driving, even if their hands are on the wheel. “Once a conversation begins, we don’t see a difference between hand-held and hands-free,” says Adrian Lund, president of the institute.

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I have written in the past about the dangers of talking on cell phones and texting while driving. The new technology being introduced is a positive sign that car companies are looking to make the roads safer for everyone. I look forward to seeing the introduction of new technology in the coming months.

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New Technology Is Key To Reducing Severity Of Car Crashes

ABC News recently reported that there has been new car technology has decreased the severity of car accidents.  A report from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety concluded that new advanced in automobile technology could decrease accidents by as much as one-third.

The report reveals that new crash avoidance technology is becoming more effective in protecting passengers in a number of different kinds of crashes, including severe frontal crashes, the most common fatal accident. Equipping vehicles with this technology could result in the prevention or reduced severity of as many as 32 percent of the 5.8 million crashes that occur annually.

Each year, there are nearly 700,000 automobile accidents that result in injury. Approximately 148,000, or 21 percent, could be mitigated by these technologies; of the 33,035 fatal accidents annually, as many as 31 percent could be prevented or have an altered outcome, as revealed by this new study.

The new crash avoidance technologies range from features that offer the driver a visual or audio alert signaling he or she should take corrective action to avoid an imminent accident, to more active measures that allow the car’s computer to intervene and apply the brakes to prevent a collision.

The safety systems include forward collision warning, which alerts a driver to brake more quickly when he or she is closing in on a car ahead; blind spot detection to make drivers aware of vehicles in adjacent lanes; headlights that map to the steering wheel so that they adjust as the car turns; and lane departure warning, which alerts the driver if the vehicle is drifting off of the road unintentionally. Such advanced innovations even take into account driver distraction.
 
To read the entire article about the increase new automobile technology, click here.

It will be interesting to see if there continues to be a downward trend in car accidents as the technology continues to improve.

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