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Improving road safety with technology

Many deadly road traffic accidents in Connecticut occur when drivers are distracted or make unanticipated lane changes or other maneuvers. This often gives even motorists with fast reaction times little chance of avoiding a collision. However, the National Transportation Safety Board says that many of these accidents could be prevented if cars, SUVs and large commercial vehicles were equipped with currently available accident avoidance technology.

The agency has called upon lawmakers to mandate the installation of car accident avoidance technology such as lane departure and collision warning systems, tire pressure monitoring devices and electronic stability control in vehicles sold in the United States. These systems are designed to warn drivers of dangerous situations or improve vehicle control in emergencies. Passive safety devices such as airbags and seat belts already save thousands of lives each year, and the NTSB believes that the use of these active systems could save many more.

The statistics back up the agency's position. Electronic stability control could reduce the number of loss of control accidents by 70 percent for SUVs and 40 percent for cars, and the agency says that 4,659 accidents involving tractor-trailers could be prevented each year by the technology. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration previously looked into forward collision warning systems, and they found that as many as 18,000 accidents between 2001 and 2005 involving semi trucks may have been prevented by had vehicles been equipped with these systems.

The accidents that these systems could prevent often occur at highway speeds and cause catastrophic injuries. Those who suffer injury, loss or damage in a road traffic accident caused by negligent behavior may seek civil remedies, and a personal injury attorney could file a lawsuit on their behalf against the driver responsible. This litigation may seek compensation for the property damage, medical expenses and lost income of accident victims.

Source: National Transportation Safety Board, "Mandate Motor Vehicle Collision Avoidance Technologies", November 30, 2014

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