A study published Monday has emphasized the importance of utilizing modern technology in cars, which could lead to reduced traffic deaths if only such systems were standard in every new car sold.
Consumer Reports' study serves as a call-out to automakers that often lock advanced safety technologies in higher-priced trims. The study was published just as the U.S. House of Representatives voted on new legislation that would make some advanced features a standard in new vehicles.
The study made mention of blind-spot warning, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking, which are types of technologies that would help in lessening traffic deaths by 11,000. Additionally, pedestrian detection systems would prevent another 800 deaths per year.
Though the mentioned technologies have been moved to standard trims by several automakers, lacking a mandate will give car companies the freedom to make them optional. On average, a car buyer would typically spend $2,000 more to add blind-spot warning, pedestrian detection, and auto emergency braking. Some automakers would even charge up to $12,000 for these features, the study pointed out.
Consumer Reports also discussed two other technologies that already exist but are not as prevalent as the aforementioned tech above. These are drunk driving prevention tech and vehicle-to-vehicle communications.
V2V has slowly rolled out to some vehicles, but it's far from widespread, and in some cases, only works with specific cars. We can only see the full potential of this technology if most cars already have V2V tech, in which they can communicate with each other. The study estimates that this tech could save at least 1,300 lives per year.
As for drunk driving prevention tech, the study says that it could prevent 70% of drink driving deaths. In 2018, there were 10,500 traffic deaths related to driving under the influence. If the technology to prevent such incidents from happening is used, there could be up to 7,000 fewer deaths.
Now imagine if all these pieces of tech are standard in every car, the number of people saved from untimely deaths would reach up to 20,500, according to the study.
The text in the legislation actually includes recommendations approved by Consumer Reports, specifically the drunk driving prevention tech and the standard active-safety gear. If passed into law, the legislation would also reform the five-star rating system being used by the Department of Transportation to crash-test cars.
The point of the study is to make modern tech a standard and use it to its full potential in order to prevent accidents and deaths on the road.