Here at Hastings & Hastings, we have been diligently protecting the rights of accident victim in Arizona for over 35 years. We believe in taking a client-focused approach to personal injury law. This philosophy is what gave birth to out legendary Discount Accident Fee. David Hastings, the founder of Hastings & Hastings believed that accident victims, the individuals who suffered physical, mental, emotional, and financial hardship as a result of an accident, should be entitled to the bulk of any financial settlement. Such settlements cannot turn back time and undo the damage caused by an accident, but they can help accident victims as they move forward in their lives.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of car accidents occur. According to the most recent data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 29,898 fatal accidents occurred in the year 2014, resulting in 32,765 total deaths. As a personal injury law firm, our primary purpose is to defend the rights of accident victims after an accident has occurred. However, we understand that no amount of financial compensation can fully undo the harm caused by an accident. Yes, settlements can help individuals pay medical bills, repairs bills, and even make up for lost wages, but they cannot erase the physical, mental, and emotional damage that has been done. For this reason, we here at Hastings & Hastings are equally committed to accident prevention.
Of course, loyal readers of the Hastings & Hastings Blog know that this is not the first time we have discussed the important topic of accident prevention. In fact, over the last few months it has been one of our favorite topics. If we can help prevent even a single accident from happening, then our efforts have been well worth it. Previous posts have touched in ideas such as promoting accident prevention by learning from statistics, and encouraging accident prevention through driver education and training. Today, we are going to look at the topic of accident prevention through a slightly different lens. Today, we are going to examine the roll of technology in accident prevent. We will look at historic safety technologies which debuted long ago, were incredibly innovative in their time, and have already saved countless lives, we will look at modern safety technologies that are being utilized today, and we will take a peek into the future to see what types of safety technologies may be waiting for us just around the proverbial corner. Without further ado, let’s dive into it!
Historic Safety Improvements
We cannot have a discussion about historic safety improvements without touching on what is arguably the most important vehicle safety feature of all time – the seat belt. The seat belt does have some competition for this top spot, but we will touch on that a bit later.
Seatbelts were invented by George Cayley, and English engineer during the middle of the 19th century. That may cause you to say, “Now wait a second, that is before cars were even invented!” In thinking that, you would be mostly correct. The first vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine was built in 1886 by Francois Isaac de Rivaz. However, most historians point out the year 1886, when Karl Benz created the first gasoline-powered vehicle as the invention of the first automobile.
So, what were seat belts used for, if not as a safety feature in automobiles? The first seat belts were used to secure passengers of wagons, carts, and other animal drawn transportation vehicles. In 1911, one Benjamin Foulois actually invented a specific type of seat belt which was affixed to cavalry saddles. Seat belts would not be heavily used as a safety feature in vehicles for another 30+ year, and it would require a major inciting action – World War II. The military, with the intention of saving lives, incorporated seat belts as a major safety feature in aircrafts, tanks, and other military vehicles.
In the early 1950s, Dr. C. Hunter Shelden invented the first retractable seat belt for the automobile. He also proposed safety ideas such as reinforced rooves, roll bars, recessed steering wheels, door locks, and air bags. Dr. Hunter may have made the single largest contribution to vehicle safety technology. Over the course of the 1950s, more and more vehicle manufacturers began to make safety belts a standard feature. In 1970, Victoria, Australia passed the world’s first seat belt law. These simple, elegant, priceless bands of webbing and polyester have been saving countless lives ever since.
Next, let’s move on to modern safety features.
Modern Safety Features
While the seat bet is widely considered to be the most important safety feature in a car, there are many other important safety features which can help you avoid accidents all together, or protect you should an accident occur. We will go over a few of the most important modern features one-by-one.
Breaking places an immense amount of stress and strain on a car. Before the invention of anti lock brakes, it was common for wheels to lock up when subjected to hard breaking. This would make it impossible to steer and cause drivers to lose control during the moments they needed control the most. Anti lock brakes prevent this from happening by using a sensors placed at each wheel which feed information to a small computer which then regulates the breaking power in each wheel to keep them mobile. This allows drivers to maintain control over the vehicle even sharply applying the breaks.
While antilock brakes are designed to prevent accidents, airbags are designed to keep you safe should an accident occur. Starting in 1998, front airbags became a standard vehicle safety feature. If you experience a collision, crash sensors deploy the airbags and they inflate in a matter of milliseconds – faster than the blink of an eye. Studies show that airbags have saved thousands of lives over the years. However, it is important to note that airbags can actually be dangerous to small children or people who are not wearing seat belts. For this reason, children under the age of 12 should always travel in the back seat.
Crumple zones have been one of the most effective safety innovations of the last several decades. Essential, a crumple zone is a section of the car that is designed to be damaged. Specific parts of the car body, in front and in back, are built to crumple and deform in the event of a collision. The helps to absorb some of the energy of the impact.
Safety Features of the Future!!
There is one funny thing about the future. The future is NOW. Some of these incredible safety features are already hitting the market, and others will be prominent in the 2017 models of many cars. Many of these high-tech safety features promise to dramatically reduce the frequency of accidents. Let’s take a look at what is in store.
Emergency Brake Assist
Accidents are accidents. That is to say, they typically happen because someone made a mistake. Perhaps they took their eyes off the road for a split second, or the failed to notice a pedestrian, or someone else cut them off in traffic, whatever the cause, accidents typically happen because of human error. Emergency brake assist help to mitigate human error. This technology can detect if a collision is about to occur, and it can apply the brakes automatically. It can also provide breaking assistance even if the brakes have already been engaged.
You can check your rear-view mirror, you can check your side-view mirror, but unless you peak over your shoulder, you won’t be able to tell if someone is in your blind spot. However, checking your blind spot forces you to take your eyes of the road in front of you for a split second. Blind-spot detection technology can warn you, with a flash of light in your mirror, a vibration, or a sounds, when a vehicle is in your blind-spot.
Wake Up Warnings
Studies have shown that driving drowsy is almost as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. Often, drivers will fail to realize exactly how exhausted they are. This can cause the effects of drowsy driving to creep up on them. This technology is capable of measuring your body posture and eye activity. If you begin to nod-off, it will send a warning to wake up you. This technology can also send a warning if you begin drifting out of your lane.
These safety features are just a few of the innovative new technologies which have begun debuting in cars over recent year. This is just the beginning of automation. Soon, cars may even be able to drive themselves.
Unfortunately, technology has yet to eliminate accidents all together. If you have been involved in an accident, it is important to explore your legal options. You have rights as an accident victim. Let Hastings & Hastings help you explore those rights. To learn more or to schedule a free legal consultation, call (480)706-1100 or click HERE.