New Automotive Technology to Help Improve America’s Road Safety

More than 100 Americans die every day in automobile accidents. In fact, over the last century, more have perished due to car crashes in the United States than in all the wars the country has fought. Although this is a horrible statistic, the 2006 Traffic Safety Annual Assessment from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported the largest U.S. decline in terms of both number and percentage since 1992. This vigorous reduction is a goal that automotive engineers are striving to continue year after year.

Innovative automotive engineering can make cars safer, but at the same time, drivers must also strive for improvements. Many motorists at one time or another can recall either almost being killed on the road, stories of road-rage or helplessly observing an accident happen right in front of their very eyes. According to a 1999 Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) special, Escape! Because Accidents Happen – Car Crash, the roads are, indeed, a major threat. What’s more, an automotive magazine recently published statistics which reveal that more than 95% of these accidents involve some degree of (poor) driver behavior.

Indeed, some Americans may not rank amongst the best of the world’s drivers, but it’s not entirely due to operator error, either. Poor roadway maintenance, roadway design and equipment failure have also been referenced as top factors affecting crashes. Frequently, driving behavior interacts with at least one of these other factors to produce a grave situation.

Aside from rectifying the paradox that the majority of drivers consider themselves more skillful than their counterparts, better engineering and innovative automotive technology could help improve roadway safety. Today, it is well understood that properly deployed cushions of air (i.e., airbags) can assist in saving lives. In much the same way, in the previous generation, the advantages of good restraining devices were discovered. Car navigation systems particularly aid the directionally challenged – and, what about using those fancy “carputers” for technology to help make our roads safer? Automotive engineers are answering this need by developing “active safety systems.” These systems can help reduce the number of crashes and minimize the effects of crashes that do occur.

Automotive safety is taking on a new role as active safety components are beginning to gain ground as technology and development improve. Some suppliers are developing specialized active and passive safety systems. These include forward collision and lane departure warning, electronic stability control, pre-crash mitigation, side alert systems, active night vision and road sign and pedestrian recognition – all of which do about what they sound like they should.

Imagine how different driving could be if motorists were warned before they were about to sideswipe a fellow road warrior, alerted before missing a stop sign or even just able to see what’s ahead at night. Such technologies could prove paramount to safety as humankind steps into an era of even more cars, faster speeds and the repercussions of recent population explosions.

A European study reported that 80% of drivers involved in accidents believed the other party could have done something to prevent the mishap. But what if everybody just stopped blaming each other and became better drivers? What if existing technology was utilized and built upon to reduce the number of traffic fatalities? In the end, determining fault matters more if something can be done about it, such as discovering ways to prevent other collisions.

It can be scary out there on bustling roadways. All one has to do is hop on a busy interstate or horn-chorused city street to realize roads “ain’t no horse trails.” In the chaos that is modern driving, these new “active” safety systems are promising.

Significance Of Latest Automotive Technology

The last few decades have seen the advent of technology in all the spheres of life. The automotive industry is no exception. The vehicles have changed tremendously over the past decade. Vehicle manufacturers are always on the look out for new innovations to win over the customer segment. But are these new additions beneficial for a driver? The main purpose of this article is to discuss the pros and cons of the latest automotive technology:

Safety- With respect to safety, the enhanced technology has only complicated matters. In the good old days, the vehicles were not known for their speed. With the improvement in technology, the speed of vehicles has increased. But it has also lead to large number of fatalities in accidents, though technologies like shock absorbers and racing suspensions have been added to the vehicles for making driving safer and easier. Seat belt safety which became popular in the 1980’s, has certainly reduced the number of accidents. Enhancing the strength of cars is another strategy which has been adopted by various automobile producing companies.

Power Steering- In terms of power steering, the cars have certainly improved. Now, you don’t require to use power while turning cars. Also reverse parking is now a simpler process. So in this regard, you can say that new technology has generated a positive impact.

Improved side view mirrors- During the early days of the production of vehicles, the near side view mirrors were not fitted in the vehicles. But in all the contemporary vehicles, you will find near side mirrors. These mirrors are extremely helpful while changing lanes. This prevents road accidents and also makes driving easier.

Gear-less vehicles- Some people find it difficult to drive vehicles, in which gears have to be changed regularly. In order to aid such people, new vehicles which run automatically, with only adjustment of the speed being required have been invented. This innovation has acted as a boon for people with limited reflexes or senior citizens in the twilight of their life. Such people have also now got the opportunity to drive vehicles, whereas earlier they were dependent on public transport.

GPS Maps- This has been an extremely useful innovation. These involve road maps related to your destination, which can be viewed on inbuilt screens. This makes driving much more safer, as searching for an address in the directory while driving could prove to be hazardous.

Get Under the Hood of an Automotive Technology Career

For those of you who are tired of getting your auto fix by continuously customizing and modifying your own car, or gluing yourselves to TV shows like “American Choppers” or “Pimp my Ride”, there are ways to expand — automotive technology could be a lucrative career instead of just a way of letting the day speed by on the couch.

Automotive technology schools provide students with the possibility of blending their technical and creative passions together. Your interest in design, form, color, and presentation can be satisfied along with your desire to problem solve, tinker, experiment, and work with ever-evolving technology and science.

According to the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, professional automotive technicians can earn $60,000 or more per year with the appropriate training — and with good reason. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pros in the field are in demand, with over 800,000 automotive technicians employed as of 2004. As the number of multi-car families continues to increase, job opportunities for automotive technicians are expected to grow as well.

An automotive technician career isn’t the same as it was 10 years ago, and as a result automotive technology schools have had to update their curriculum accordingly. With global positioning systems, Internet access, and alternate-fuel systems among the many increasingly common technological advancements found in cars, students at automotive technology schools cannot complete their training without knowledge in these fields. In fact, according to the College Board, more automotive technology schools are now even offering courses in stress management and customer service.

Not that automotive technology should be a stressful job — to the contrary, a successful automotive technician is one who is passionate about his or her career. But let’s face it, cars are a big part of the way we live and keeping them on the road is no small task. According to the Center for Automotive Research, by the year 2000, there were about 217 million vehicles on the road in the U.S., traveling 2.5 trillion miles, and consuming 160 billion gallons of gasoline. So sure, the job can get a little stressful at times — which is why an automotive technology career relies on education during crunch time.