On average, there are 6 million car accidents in the U.S. every year. That is roughly 16,438 per day. More than 36,000 Americans die in car crashes every year, according to the National Highway Transportation Administration.
Advances in vehicle safety technology mean that substantial numbers of these crashes, injuries, and deaths could be prevented. Examples of such technologies include: braking systems designed to shorten a vehicle’s stopping distance; systems that warn the driver if the vehicle begins to drift out of its lane; blind spot vehicle detection systems; and, systems that can detect when a crash is imminent and automatically apply the brakes if the driver fails to do so. These safety systems are known in the industry as as crash avoidance technologies (CAT) or crash avoidance systems (CAS).
Below is a case study of a lawsuit we recently concluded for a client who was catastrophically injured when another vehicle moved into his lane. We argued that, had the vehicle that struck our client been equipped with blind spot assist, the driver would have been alerted to our client’s motorcycle in his blind spot. This would have meant that the vehicle would not have changed lanes and struck our client, thereby avoiding the crash.
The facts in this case
Our client was on his way home form work. He was on a two-lane road and, as he approached a slower vehicle, he legally and within the speed limit maneuvered into the passing lane to lawfully pass the other vehicle. When our client was alongside the vehicle, and in the vehicle’s blind spot, the vehicle moved into his lane. The driver of the vehicle did not see our client on his motorcycle, so he hit him and caused him to crash.
What we discovered: safety should not be an option
In reading the police report and studying the facts of the crash, a question arose: Would a crash avoidance safety system such as blind spot assist, or blind spot detection, have prevented this crash? The vehicle that struck our client was a 2016 model, but was not equipped with blind spot safety. Research led us to find many 2016 model vehicles equipped with blind spot assist or blind spot detection as standard. In addition, the system was also available on many prior year models.
Blind spot safety was offered on the particular 2016 model SUV involved in this crash, but only on certain trim levels. It was not included in the vehicle involved in this crash. Safety should never be an option nor only available to those who can afford to pay a higher price for a vehicle. Safety should be available to all of us.
Crash avoidance technology systems save lives
We obtained a 2016 model of the vehicle involved in the crash that was equipped with blind spot detection. We ran more than a dozen tests simulating the movement of the vehicle and our client’s motorcycle. Every time, the blind spot detection system detected the motorcycle along side the vehicle. The driver was alerted with a flashing yellow light on the mirror, warning the driver to stay in their lane. This proved that the crash would have been avoided.
There are many accident scenarios, like a car changing lanes into its blind spot, as in this case. However, other scenarios, such as rear end impacts, can be prevented with forward collision warning or automatic emergency braking. Head on collisions can also be avoided by lane departure warning or lane keep assist systems.
To read more about crash avoidance technologies, click the ‘Read more’ button below. Jaime Jackson Law is at the forefront of vehicle technology and for holding accountable manufacturers who choose to put profits before safety.