Does New Car Technology Make Roads Safer?

Could Technology Advances Make Roads Safer?

#1 Driver Assist Systems

Assist systems are a half-step on the way to fully autonomous driving.

Pro: Eases workload with automated steering, braking and accelerating

Con: Drivers must intervene at any time, as cars aren’t equipped to take full control

Technology does not eliminate error, but it changes the nature of errors that are made, and it introduces new kinds of errors. We have to realize that it's not a panacea”

#2 Autonomous Emergency Breaking (AEB)

AEB braking systems stop a car if it senses an object ahead and the driver fails to respond.*

Pro: Detects cars and some pedestrians, bicycles and large animals to reduce collisions

Con: The system will only apply the brakes at speeds under 50 mph

All consumers should be able to benefit from these safety systems–not just those who can afford luxury cars or expensive extras.”

#3 Automatic Climate Control

Automatic Climate Control keeps temperature to a certain setting–like in a home.

Pro: Less distractions from temperature-adjusting–set it and forget it

Con: Complex controls can cause distractions if operated while driving

#4 Android Auto

The Android Auto app, developed by Google, puts your phone in car-friendly mode.

Pro: Safer driving when phone use in the car is necessary; configures your phone with oversized buttons, auto response and more

Con: Without a compatible head unit or third-party alternative to install the system, you can’t run Android Auto on your car’s dash

#5 Apple CarPlay

Adaptive Cruise Control adjusts your set speed to that of cars around you.

Pro: Makes apps easier to navigate to keep you more focused on the road

Con: Without a compatible head unit you can’t run CarPlay on your car’s dash

#6 Lane-Departure Warning (LDW)

With LDW, various car alerts notify you when you drift from your lane.

Pro: Protects tired or distracted drivers with visual, audible, and/or tactile warnings (steering wheel vibrations)

Con: Owners reported that 41% of vehicles with the LDW system gave at least one false alert

#7 Lane-Keeping Assist (LKA)

LKA provides breaking or steering input to correct the vehicle if it starts to exit the lane.

Pro: Helps protect drivers through warnings like those in LDW systems such as seat vibrations

Con: Drivers may come to depend on LKA and the technology can be inconsistent

When using LKA, we've found that giving a wide berth to a cyclist or pedestrian may cause the system to steer the car back toward the curb, scaring everyone involved.”

#8 Hands-Free or Voice-Activated Devices

Hands-free devices are intended to help drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

Pro: Fewer distractions when systems perform with less complication and error

Con: Still allows up to 27 seconds of distracted driving; at just 25 mph, that’s like driving the length of 3 football fields blindfolded

Overwhelming scientific evidence concludes that hands-free is not risk free.”

#9 Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)

Adaptive Cruise Control adjusts your set speed to that of cars around you.

Pro: Automatically maintains a safe, set distance from the car ahead

Con: Some systems won’t bring vehicles to a complete stop

#10 Head-Up Displays (HUDs)

First used in military fighter jets, HUDs put key information (e.g., speed limit, directions, if a car is in your blind spot) on the windshield instead of the dashboard.

Pro: Keeps drivers focused on the road, as information is in the driver’s line of sight

Con: Can cause distractions until the driver is used to the technology

As always, we recommend you practice defensive driving; it’s the best protection you can provide yourself in a car.


Self Driving Car Technology Blamed For First Fatality

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study: