AAA released new findings Wednesday, revealing that up to 40% of all crashes and 30% of fatal crashes could be avoided through the use of newer safety features.
Almost all 2019 car models now come equipped with features like advanced collision warning, emergency braking, lane keeping assist and blind spot monitoring, but AAA and the NTSB both say drivers actually need to use them.
When AAA studied all crashes over the past two years, they examined which cars involved had some of these newer features. That data shows if all of the cars had high-tech in 2016, 9,500 lives nationwide may have been saved. 188 of those would have been in Oklahoma.
“We can see the benefits,” says AAA spokesperson Leslie Gamble, “just as we would if there were some kind of an illness where there was a medical breakthrough.”
Despite these advances, however, pedestrians are being killed by cars at the highest rate since 1990. The NTSB presented its own findings to the federal government Tuesday, saying one of the main problems is what is happening behind the wheel.
AAA agrees. “We found many people in this study, one in six, weren’t even aware that their cars even had emergency braking features,” Gamble says.
AAA wants to work with manufacturers to train car buyers on special features before they leave the dealership. They also encourage you to brush up on your owner’s manual if you are unfamiliar with your car’s features.
Gamble adds, “Certainly, drivers need to learn how to use these tools as they get them on their new cars and put them to use to help save lives here in Oklahoma and across our nation.
The NTSB is looking to Europe for possible answers, as fatal crashes are decreasing there with the increasingly common adaptive headlights that adjust to the road ahead of you. The agency wants the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recommend headlight standards and pedestrian warnings in order to implement these changes across the market.