A study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has made some troubling findings concerning in-vehicle safety systems. According to their survey, almost a third of road safety systems create “very high” levels of distraction in their drivers. With much vaunted road safety systems not providing the level of protection that drivers need, it may be time for the industry to re-evaluate what is needed to create a truly customer-focused product that protects road users.
Improving road safety through legislation
One of the most effective ways to improve road safety is to look at legal trends and act on them. Car accident attorneys across the country bring cases for victims, and more often than not, these cases highlight national trends. By moving away from accepting the basic rate offered in insurance claims and towards a detailed analysis of how and why accidents happen, road users and advocates can start to drill down on the real issues behind unsafe roads. Indeed, the US safe roads initiative has highlighted litigation leading to the classification of cell phone usage into distinct categories with their own level of penalty.
Understanding common risks
With an awareness of common trends should come and awareness of risk. Numbers continue to rise, according to Slate magazine, with an 8% jump in fatalities in 2015 equaled with continued rises year on year up to the present. This presents the highest level of road traffic accident fatalities since 1955, despite improving car safety standards.
The chief culprit for this rise is distracted driving. As outlined by the AAA, the problem is that driving systems geared towards diverting distracted driving are exacerbating rather than solving the problem. What can drivers do? Firstly, they can address their own bad habits to ensure proper behavior on the road. Secondly, they should be aware of the propensity for other drivers to be distracted, and deploy an extra level of vigilance when driving.
A high tech solution?
Electric vehicles are the future of motoring, and they already boast a better track record in safety standards than equivalent older vehicles. Taking this focus on technology to the next level is ‘smart’ motoring, where AI and IoT come together to enhance the safety of the roads. According to tech giants Microsoft, visual AI systems are already rolling out on some of the world’s most dangerous roads, including in Vietnam and Thailand. With results already showing an improvement in road safety standards, there are strong indications that technology will help drivers to stay safer than they ever have been before – finding buy-in from car manufacturers and city authorities will be the major challenge in rolling the technology out.
Even with this smart technology in place, the onus on safety and risk management will remain on the driver. AI only provides a new source of information, albeit a very high quality one; the driver still has control. Until automatically routed and automatically moving vehicles are a public standard, the driver will very much be the main vector of road safety.