LOS ANGELES – You will certainly see many changes in 2017, especially in the auto industry as it continues to make strides to improve safety and automated technology. Unfortunately, even if you buy a new vehicle you’re probably going to need to pay more than your neighbors to get this safety tech.
Vehicles today have a long list of optional features, most of which are frivolous: leather seats, autonomous parking and a moon roof sounds nice but let’s be honest – they’re not necessary. Even some of the safety technology available is more of a convenience than a necessity. Adaptive cruise control, lane assistance and Autopilot are great features but at this point in time, they probably should cost extra.
However, there are other optional features that fall into the category of life-saving devices that shouldn’t cost consumers extra. Like seat belts and air bags, blind spot detection and automatic emergency braking can save lives but most automakers will charge customers a hefty premium for theses. It’s 2017 – and it’s time to make the roads as safe as possible.
A Los Angeles car accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes says the roads and highways would be much safer if some of the new technology offered in vehicles were standard equipment on new cars and trucks.
“Merging or changing lanes is one of the riskiest maneuvers drivers have to complete every day in Los Angeles,” car accident lawyer John Sheehan said. “Roughly 10-percent of those injured in a car crash are involved in side-swiping incidents and blind spots have a lot to do with that, especially when you’re around larger vehicles like trucks or tractor-trailers.”
If you haven’t taken a car equipped with blind spot detection out for a spin, put it on your to-do list for 2017. The safety feature uses sensors on the sides of the car to detect traffic on either side of your car. In some vehicles, it alerts you of hidden traffic on the side-view mirrors. In other cars, the technology uses a camera and shows you the traffic that’s in your blind spot.
The technology would almost certainly prevent thousands of crashes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a study in 2010 and concluded that blind spot detection would prevent nearly 400,000 car crashes.
The NHTSA also announced it would add blind spot detection systems to its 5-star safety reports beginning with 2019 model cars.
That’s enough to make you wonder: why isn’t this feature included on every new vehicle? You may be asking the same question about automatic emergency braking.
According to the same IIHS study, forward collision warning would prevent or minimize the impact of more than 1-million car crashes. If your vehicle comes close to an imminent collision, it not only alerts the driver; in some cases, it can initiate braking and even tighten seat belts if the driver isn’t responding.
“More than 20-percent of car crashes were caused by rear-end collisions,” Sheehan said. “That’s concerning because almost all of these accidents are preventable and we already have the technology that can help avoid them.”
Some automakers have opted to make these features standard in their new vehicles but the majority of the industry is charging extra – and that can cost car buyers hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Several polls and studies have suggested that most consumers will simply opt for a lower or standard package instead of forking over the extra cash for things like blind spot detection or emergency braking.
As long as these features remain ‘luxury’ features, Los Angeles car accident lawyers say motorists and passengers on every street, road and highway face a higher risk of getting injured in a car crash – but if recent government trends are indicative of anything; the future may be promising for those who want a safer ride but can’t afford it.
Starting next year, all vehicles sold in the U.S. will be required to have rear-view cameras installed; the first major requirement since seat belts and air bags.
Is emergency braking or blind spot detection next? Safety advocates are pressuring the auto industry to make these features standard and they’re hopeful that soon, all new cars and trucks will have the features they need to save lives.
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