For Better or Worse: Technology in Cars

car driving fast at night under streetlights

Between July 2021 and May 2022, almost 400 motor vehicle collisions involved cars with automated technology, according to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). As vehicles become increasingly more advanced, we have to ask ourselves: is this new technology making our cars safer, or are they becoming more dangerous?

Benefits of Technology

One of the benefits of technology in cars is that it can help to prevent accidents from happening in the first place. For example, some new vehicles come with features like:

  • Automatic Braking System (ABS) - ABS utilizes cameras to detect possible collisions and applies the brakes to either slow or stop the car.
  • Blind Spot Detection - Uses sensors to detect when another car is in your blind spot and will alert you so that you can change lanes safely.
  • Lane Departure Warning - Alerts the driver if the car begins to veer out of its current lane.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) - Similar to standard cruise control, ACC takes following distance into consideration and will adjust speed accordingly.

But it is not just safety features that are making cars safer. Newer cars also have better crash test ratings than older models. This is a result of the advances in engineering and materials science that allow manufacturers to make stronger and lighter cars. As a result, newer cars are less likely to be damaged in a collision, and their occupants are more likely to survive an accident.

The Downsides of Technology

While all of these safety features are designed to make driving safer, they can also have the opposite effect if the software fails or is misused. For example, if drivers rely too heavily on blind spot detection, they might not pay as much attention to their surroundings and could end up in an accident. Adaptive cruise control can also be dangerous if it does not work correctly, as it could cause the car to speed up, slow down or not recognize the closeness of the vehicle in front.

Another problem with technology in cars is that it can be distracting. Large touch screens are becoming more common in vehicles, taking the driver's attention away from the road. Even features that are designed to be helpful, like navigation systems, can be a distraction if they are not used correctly.

A Recent Example

In December 2022, the NHTSA opened an investigation on Tesla vehicles that allowed occupants to play video games on the center touchscreen while the vehicle was in motion. The investigation involved an estimated 580,000 vehicles. Tesla immediately disabled the feature upon announcement of the investigation. Still, the NHTSA is taking note of how Tesla, one of the leading innovators in automobile technology, may be putting its drivers at risk.

Who Can Be Held Responsible?

Establishing liability depends on the situation. If a car manufacturer produces a car with defective safety features or certain features that may enable a driver to become distracted, they could be held liable for any accidents that occur as a result. If a driver is found using their car's features unsafely, they could be held responsible. And if a third party modifies a car's software or hardware, they could also be held liable.

The bottom line is that car technology can be both helpful and harmful. It is essential to use it safely and responsibly to avoid accidents. And if an accident does happen, it is crucial to know who can be held responsible.

Seeking a Car Accident Attorney in Athens, Georgia?

At The Law Office of Joshua W. Branch, LLC, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll a car accident can take on our clients and their families. We also know that the insurance companies are not on your side – they will do everything they can to minimize the amount of money they have to pay out. That's why our personal injury lawyers in Athens fight for our clients, tirelessly pursuing the total and fair compensation they deserve.

If you were injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to compensation. Call us today at (706) 760-9220 or fill out our form online.

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