According to visualcapitalist.com, there were 6.7 million auto accidents in the United States in 2019. Moreover, over 36,000 people lost their lives in automobile accidents in 2019. However, auto safety innovations such as seatbelts, airbags, and other safety innovations have saved countless numbers of lives over the past 60 years.
The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics shows that these safety innovations have dramatically reduced the number of vehicle fatalities. The number of deaths for every 100 million miles driven was 5.1 in 1960. In 2019, the rate of accident deaths fell to 1.1 fatalities per 100 million miles driven. These numbers are impressive considering the number of cars that are on the road today as compared to 60 years ago.
The following car safety innovations have been responsible for reducing traffic accident fatalities from 5.1 death per million miles driven to 1.1.
The Seatbelt – The invention of the seatbelt is perhaps one of the most life-saving innovations of all time, especially as cars become capable of reaching higher speeds. When people are unrestrained in an automobile and then they are involved in an accident, the forces of the collision will throw occupants out of the vehicles’ windows. A significant percentage of people who are involved in an accident but are unrestrained are killed because the accident forces throw them out of the vehicle or partially ejected them during a rollover accident. In 1973, the United States mandated that all vehicles be manufactured with 3-point seatbelts.
The Airbag – Airbags are another modern invention that has been responsible for reducing the severity of injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents. Airbags activate and push out a “pillow-like” bag and prevent the driver from hitting their face against the steering wheel. In recent years, the design of certain internal mechanisms caused some airbags to send metal shrapnel through the vehicle’s cabin at high speeds. Although this defect is being addressed, airbags have played an important role in reducing injury severity and deaths.
The Backup Camera – In May of 2018, backup cameras became a legal requirement. Backup cameras have reduced the number of backover accidents involving pedestrians, other vehicles, and objects. A study conducted in 2014 concluded that backup cameras prevented a lot of collisions.
The latest innovations in auto safety include anti-lock braking systems, pre-collision assist systems, and lane-assist technologies. Whether or not these new technologies will bring substantial safety benefits remains to be seen.
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