Many changes in vehicle designs, technologies and even traffic laws over the years have been driven by the need to improve safety and reduce accidents. The inclusion of airbags in multiple locations and the requirements surrounding child safety seats provide just two examples of these changes.
Technology continues to play a large role in accident prevention efforts. Unfortunately, advancements in technology alone are not enough to prevent all crashes.
New technologies need more time to develop
By their very nature, emerging technologies may not be capable of everything desired of them. Lasers and sensors included in pedestrian detection systems, for example, are so far ineffective at reliably detecting pedestrians, especially at night.
The Verge reported that one study conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) focusing on pedestrian safety returned such poor results that the advocacy group deemed the pedestrian detection and automatic braking systems in the test vehicles to be totally ineffective in dark conditions. Tragically, most pedestrian fatalities happen in dark conditions.
Some tests in the study took place in daylight hours with good visibility. When test vehicles drove at 30 miles per hour, adult pedestrian dummies crossing in front of the vehicles were still struck 60% of the time.
New technologies may provide a false sense of security
Another potential problem associated with new technologies in vehicles is that drivers may put too much trust in them. Research reviewed by the Virginia Technology Transportation Institute shows that people driving vehicles with lane keeping assistance features and adaptive cruise control systems were 80% more inclined to engage in manually or visually distracting behaviors while driving.