I’m sure everyone has been personally affected in some way, shape, or form by automobile accidents. Whether it’s teens who were still new behind the wheel or someone who was trying to sneak in a quick text, we are all familiar with tragic stories of those who died or were seriously injured in a car accident.
Fortunately, there are new safety features coming to cars that may make the roads a little bit safer for everyone.
1. A dashboard designed specifically for teen drivers. Motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death for teenagers in the U.S. – that’s a scary statistic. In the U.S. alone, an average of seven teens die in a crash every single day. These deaths are preventable, too, and Chevrolet is hoping to bring the rate of reckless teen driving down by adding new safety features to their 2016 Malibu.
Through the Teen Driver mode, parents can set a maximum speed limit. If a teen goes over that allotted mph, they get a warning, and soon the car will also be able to alert parents when their child speeds.
Additionally, the radio will not start until the driver’s seatbelt is buckled. This is especially important because 55% of teens who die in a crash are not wearing seat belts.
The safety features also include statistics about the distance teens drove, any over-speed warnings issued, forward collision alerts, forward collision braking events, and antilock brake events. Teen Driver is set to launch on April 1.
2. A device that won’t let you drink and drive. If you thought the teen driving statistics were scary (and they are!), they’re just as – if not more – grim for driving while impaired. In the U.S., an average of 30 people die per day because of impaired driving. That’s one death every 51 minutes.
A new study found that 59,000 lives could be saved by adding a required safety feature that shuts off an engine if the driver’s blood alcohol content is over the U.S. legal limit of .08*. That’s an 85% decrease in the amount of deaths by drunk drivers.
All of this is why a Congress-backed program called Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) is so important. The program is a collaboration by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety to research technologies that will detect if a driver’s BAC is over the legal limit and prevent their car from starting.
DADSS was started in 2008, but in 2013 it began a new phase that will field test two different types of technologies to prevent drunk driving.
The first is a breath-based system that measures carbon dioxide and alcohol concentrations from inside the vehicle. As their website says, “The system will be designed to take instantaneous, unobtrusive readings as the driver breathes normally and to accurately and reliably distinguish between the driver’s breath and that of the passengers.”
The second is a touch-based system that uses spectrometry and light absorption to detect blood alcohol levels. DADSS says, “The goal is to integrate this system into current vehicle controls, such as the start button or steering wheel, and to take multiple, accurate readings in less than a second. ”
The goal of the project is to get these technologies developed, tested, and put into cars for drivers who want them, helping to make the roads safer for everyone.
While all of these impending technologies are great, it’s always best to do things like not text/drink and drive, wear seatbelts, and not speed anyway. *Drinking and driving is never a good idea, and in many countries it is illegal to drive after drinking at all. Even though the U.S. even has one of the highest permissible BAC levels in the world, please, for everyone’s sake, don’t drink and drive.