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Technology can help us best avoid auto accidents

While automobile safety features of today seem old-hat (seat belts, air bags) and the safety features of tomorrow seem far-off (self-driving cars, GPS-assisted speed monitoring), the safety features being readied for the next iteration of vehicles are ready to be deployed.

According to Consumer Reports, some new safety features include:

  • Brakes that automatically apply to prevent a collision or reduce speed
  • Visual or audible warnings of a collision
  • Visual or audible warning of a vehicle in your blind spot
  • Visual or audible warning of a vehicle or person at the rear of the vehicle but out of camera range
  • Brakes that automatically apply if a vehicle or person is behind your vehicle
  • Visual or audio warning if you cross lane markings
  • Automatic steering correction if you cross lane markings
  • Cruise control that adapts to the speed of the cars around you using lasers, radar or cameras

Attitudes about safety

The need is great: The University of California-Berkeley joined with the state Office of Traffic Safety to study fatalities due to crashes involving speed in California. It found:

  • There were 1,056 people killed in speeding-related traffic collisions in 2016, a 10.7 percent increase from 2012
  • More than 29 percent of California’s motor vehicle fatalities were speeding-related, the second-highest number of speeding-related fatalities in the nation
  • Nearly 74 percent of speed-related collision victims were males. More than half were ages 15 to 34
  • More than 60 percent of speed-related collisions occurred in urban areas. Although nearly 40 percent occurred on rural roads, only 15.9 percent of travel took place on rural roads
  • Over one-third of speeding-related crashes were rear end collisions
  • Over one third of speeding-related collisions occurred on weekends

In 2017, the state Office of Traffic Safety reported that 65 percent of drivers thought it is safe to drive 10 MPH over the speed limit on freeways, and 12 percent said it is safe to drive 20 MPH over the speed limit.

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