California has long been heralded as the land of the car and scenes of vehicles driving along the Pacific Coast Highway have graced many a vehicle advertisement over the years. The state is also home to many technology companies working hard to get autonomous cars onto the roads in part to improve safety. Even many vehicles that are human-driven are starting to offer more automation and features to help prevent accidents. Statistics, however, show that the effort to eliminate accident deaths has a long way to go.
Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that in 2016, the state of California recorded 3,623 vehicular fatalities, a significant increase over the 3,387 from the previous year. In Los Angeles County along, 794 people were killed in automotive crashes that year and just as with the statewide data, this represented a jump from 2015 when 651 people died.
Many might wonder why there continues to be an increase rather than a decrease in the number of automotive deaths when vehicle safety is supposed to be improving. Information provided by Consumer Reports sheds some light on this subject by showing that apparently the range of autonomous safety features available for new cars today are not broadly incorporated into these vehicles.
In looking at just six of the many features available today including forward collision and lane departure warnings, none of the 2018 Volkswagen models offered any of the features as standard and some did not even provide them as options. Even among more expensive vehicles as from BMW or Mercedes, very few features were included as standard.