Industry steps up to
enhance highway safety
xBy Dale H Mader
The statistics in both the United States and Canada indicate that the number of highway fatalities in both countries is dropping. The 42,642 people who died in traffic crashes in the US last year was the lowest number in 15 years. A total of 2,923 persons died as a result of traffic collisions in Canada in 2005, as compared to 4,063 in 1986. Alcohol and/or speed still appear to be major factors in both countries. MADD Canada reports that 40 percent of traffic fatalities in Canada involved impaired driving. Nine of the 23 fatal accidents on PEI last year involved alcohol. The Canada Safety Council says that speed is a factor in 30 percent of fatal crashes in Canada.
The automotive industry is well aware of such statistics, and has taken dramatic steps to help reduce the possibility of collisions in spite of flaws in driver behaviour. Two of the major safety devices introduced by the industry in recent years, air bags and seat belts, are now standard equipment on all vehicles.
The recent introduction of Electronic Stability Control has already proven to be a major advance in preventing vehicles from spinning out of control. A growing number of new vehicles now include this life-saving feature as standard or as an option. Automotive Camera Systems are being used in a variety of ways to help drivers avoid accidents. Systems that can analyze road situations for the driver are starting to appear on new vehicles.
Volvo has just announced it will make “Collision Warning with Auto Brake” and “Driver Alert Control” systems available on upcoming models.
Nissan has just unveiled a new feature that can detect a driver’s state of sobriety through smell, facial monitoring and behaviour, and if necessary, immobilize the vehicle. Michelin has unveiled a line of truck tires that regenerate themselves.
Now if we could just do something about the nut behind the wheel!
Dale H Mader
You can contact Dale here.