Many people, especially younger drivers, take for granted the many safety features in today’s cars. But those of us who have been driving for a long time have witnessed a fascinating progression of changes made in the interest of safety. For example, many drivers remember when seat belts did not have shoulder harnesses and were not required by law to be worn at all.
Moreover, in recent years, these technological advancements are accelerating. In this blog post, we will look briefly at the timeline of safety improvements, along with some contemporary features that have become mainstream in cars and trucks. Then, we will consider whether all this new technology is causing more people to speed – and how that speeding leads to auto accidents in the state of Oregon.
Timeline of Safety Improvements
It’s interesting to consider how far car safety has come in a relatively short time. But it is also important to remember that there was a time, not that long ago, when cars really were not particularly safe at all. The History Channel notes, as one seminal moment, the publication by Ralph Nader of a book called “Unsafe at Any Speed.”
The History Channel states that there were almost no safety standards for cars before the book’s publication, and that approximately ten months afterward, the federal agency was created that would ultimately become the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Some of the advancements that followed, with very general timing information, are provided below:
- 1959 – Modern seatbelt technology was invented.
- 1968 – First airbag system engineered (although not widely employed).
- 1971 – Introduction of anti-lock braking technology.
- 1988 – Chrysler starts installing driver-side airbags as standard equipment in several cars. Of course, we also now have passenger-side airbags.
- 2002 – Nissan/Infiniti offers backup camera in U.S. To be sure, there are older instances of backup cameras, but since this time, they have become ubiquitous.
- 2010s – multiple driver-assist features have been introduced. Some include blind spot monitoring, autonomous cruise control, pedestrian detection systems, tire pressure monitoring, and electronic stability control.
Why Do We Worry about Speeding?
According to NHTSA, almost one in three deaths caused by traffic accidents are speed-related. The fatality rate increased by 8% from 2020 to 2021. Similarly, injuries caused by speeding-related accidents increased by almost 7%. Surprisingly, more than 50 percent of speeding drivers were not wearing a seat belt. Drivers between the ages of 18 and 44 were more likely to be involved in speeding-related crashes.
The Potential Effect of Technology on Speeding
Many automobile safety features, and whether they save lives or not, are still being investigated. However, The Verge reports that an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study indicates that breaking the speed limit increased by 18% for drivers with adaptive cruise control.
In another study, conducted in Israel, researchers found that certain automobile safety systems were associated with a more significant number of speeding tickets. The authors noted that using such systems could affect driver behavior and result in adaptive behavior. We interpret this to mean, in layperson’s terms, that if drivers feel like technology protects them, they might engage in riskier behavior, including speeding.
We do not doubt that many technological advancements in automobiles have saved lives. But there is also reason to believe that in some circumstances, technology can result in some drivers employing riskier behavior than they should.
Call with Questions
If a speeding driver has injured you, knowing your legal rights can help you navigate an auto accident case. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield can help you understand those rights in a free consultation. We will answer all of your questions, and if you need representation, we are here to help.