The release of a recent AAA study has brought to light the single most dangerous thing we can do in our cars- back out of a parking space. And unfortunately, all of the latest backup technology can’t always help.
AAA encourages motorists to be more dependent on their driving skills and less so on rear cross-traffic alert systems which may, or may not, notify them every time an object is in their path. The best way to do this, says AAA, is for drivers to back into parking spaces, allowing them to pull forward when leaving the spot, with obstacles more clearly visible.
In a collaborative effort with the Automobile Club of Southern California, AAA tested the effectiveness of rear cross-traffic warning systems of various unspecified vehicles. When traffic is approaching from the sides, these systems notify the driver, visually and audibly, anytime the vehicle is in reverse. The tests, however, indicated inconsistencies in system performances.
John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of automotive engineering and repair, said the test focused more on the technology itself, rather than the vehicle brand. He felt this was more prudent as the future of automotive technology moves toward autonomous vehicles.
The short-comings of the rear cross-traffic alert systems were significant when the test vehicle was parked between two large vehicles, such as minivans or SUVs. Those short-comings included:
- Failure to detect a passing bicycle- 40 percent of the time
- Failure to detect a passing motorcycle- 48 percent of the time
- Failure to detect a passing mid-size sedan- 30 percent of the time
- Failure to detect a pedestrian- 60 percent of the time (although not all systems are designed to recognize pedestrians- something all drivers may not realize)
A previous test conducted by AAA determined that none of the backup camera technology showed 100 percent of the space behind a vehicle and that the cameras’ effectiveness can be impaired by snow, slush, and rain.
For the 2015 model-year, AAA reports that rear cross-traffic alert technology was available on 38 percent of vehicles. When the technology was included in part of an options package, it ranged in cost between $600 and $9,000, with an average cost of $2,373. Backup cameras were available on approximately 75 percent of 2015 model-year vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In an effort to thwart backup deaths, especially of small children, the NHSTA is mandating the backup cameras by the 2018 model-year. They estimate that 15,000 injuries and 250 pedestrian deaths annually, result from drivers backing up.
Parking lots are also dangerous places, especially during holiday seasons and on weekends when they are full of cars and pedestrians. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that 14 percent of low-speed collisions occur in parking lots.
The take away is, that technology should not become a substitute for attentiveness and basic driving skills. Motorists should still utilize mirrors and look behind them before backing up. Many European countries and Australia require drivers to back into parking spots, unlike the U.S.
Contact Our Pueblo Car Accident Attorneys
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident in Pueblo or anywhere in the State of Colorado, we can help. Our Pueblo car accident attorneys are skilled and experienced in handling even the most complex car accident cases. Call Pueblo attorneys at Smith & Smith today for a FREE CONSULTATION – (719) 544-0062.