Around 4.4. million people in the U.S. are injured seriously enough in crashes to require medical attention, reports the Association for Safe International Travel, with the top causes including poor road infrastructure, non-roadworthy vehicles, inadequate traffic laws, unsafe driver behaviors, and poor post-crash care. Car manufacturers are seeking to bridge the gap between driver behavior, road conditions, and safety through cutting-edge technology aimed at significantly reducing accident rates. What are some of the latest innovations you should look out for if you are considering purchasing a new vehicle?

Blanket Safety Features

Many drivers seeking safety and security opt for medium-sized vehicles such as SUVs. Upmarket vehicles such as the current BMW X5 have a host of safety features that work together to keep drivers informed of aspects they may not be capable of detecting on their own. The range of features includes blind spot detection, lane departure warning, front and rear parking assistance, front collision warning, and pedestrian detection. One feature this car shares with many luxury SUVs is a ‘fatigue and focus’ alert feature. This monitors drivers for erratic behaviors that lie outside the norm, and lets them know that they are indulging in unusual activity, implying that they may be too tired or distracted to be behind the wheel.

Biometrics And Sophisticated Driver Monitoring

Mercedes-Benz is currently working on Vision AVTR: a futuristic looking car with a biometric system that detects the driver’s pulse through the seat, and measures breathing rates to elicit awareness levels. This new car will also have unique features - for instance, it will have no steering wheel at all. Instead, drivers will use a control unit to steer the car in the right direction. Another firm working on making driving safer is Eyesight Technologies - an Israeli company which utilizes top tech to analyze the way drivers move their eyes and eyelids. It can detect movements and patterns that indicate a driver is sleepy, instructing the driver to pull to the side of the road for a much-needed break if necessary.

Hands On The Wheel

Distracted driving is a top cause of accidents, with an estimated 400.000 people injured in this type of crash in 2018 (as reported by the CDC). One in five of people dying in crashes involving distracted drivers are not actually in a vehicle - in other words, they are pedestrians or cyclists. In order to reduce distracted driving, Volvo has devised XC40 Recharge: an advanced voice control system that allows drivers to control the temperature, select a destination, choose a song to listen to, or make a phone call - all while keeping both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Volvo is also working on systems that intervene when drivers do not respond to warning signals, since this could indicate their risk of involving themselves and others in a serious accident.

The number of cars on the road may be rising, but manufacturers are doing all they can to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. This is being achieved through blanket safety systems, biometrics, and systems that battle distraction. Of course, there is plenty that drivers can do to reduce their chances of road collisions - including resting before driving, and keeping their hands away from smartphones and other distractions.