6 Innovations That Changed the Course of Driving Safety
By Justin Stolzfus
For many Americans driving is a part of our regular routine. Whether it's a daily commute or the love of cruising the open road, we are all invested in the safety of our vehicles and roads. Fortunately, innovations over the past years have been making U.S. roads and highways safer for all of us. Some of the latest innovations in driving safety include:
- Rollover Sensors and Rollover Protection Design - Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that after a major increase in rollover fatalities in the early years of the SUV, these types of accidents have decreased significantly from 2000 (27 driver fatalities per million) to 2011 (8 per million), showing the results of building better stability technology, along with braking and road traction features into newer SUVs.
- Durable and Smart Vehicle Frame Construction - New engineering is also making vehicles safer by adding specific structural integrity to cars, SUVs and other vehicle types, along with "crumple zones" and other features intended to save lives in crashes. As an example, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety used Chevrolet models from 1959 and 2009 in a simulated crash to show how items like specially engineered frames have contributed to lower accident risks over time.
- Tire Pressure Monitors - These newer features help save fuel and can also lower the risk of accidents based on underinflated or overinflated tires, such as some kinds of collisions that happen as a result of a tire blowout.
- Traction and Stability Control - These safety add-ons help vehicles keep their grip on the road to prevent various kinds of accidents
- Anti-Lock Brakes - ABS systems help to automate some of the "best practices" for braking, decreasing brake distances and helping drivers to avoid collisions.
- Restraints - seat belts, airbags and LATCH child safety systems have also come a long way in the last couple of decades; all of which are designed to limit injuries in a collision.
Together with driver safety education, these important advancements in vehicle safety have been shown to reduce crash rates. U.S. Census information
shows that from 1990 to 2009, rates for the worst kinds of passenger car accidents have been nearly cut in half.
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