The Road to Autonomous Vehicles
There’s been a lot of chatter the past while about autonomous vehicles. It may seem that this version of the future is just around the corner. But despite the various test projects currently underway, the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that we still have quite a long way to go before self-driving cars, with the promise of a dramatic reduction or even elimination of vehicle crashes, become the mainstream.
In September, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued its first policy guidelines for autonomous vehicles, adopting SAE International’s definitions for levels of automation set out in their new standard J3016. The levels range from no automation (Level 0) to fully automated, self-driving vehicles (Level 5). Currently, only Level 2 automation is available to consumers. Vehicles with Level 2 automation conduct some parts of the driving task, such as speed and lane keeping, while the driver performs the rest. At Level 2, the driver must still be fully engaged in the driving task. The difference between Levels 0-2 and 3-5 is based on whether the human driver or the automated system is primarily responsible for monitoring the driving environment. Predictions of when personal use semi-automated to fully automated vehicles (Levels 3-5) will be available range from the early 2020s to the 2030s. The IIHS says that there will be a mixed fleet of autonomous and conventional vehicles for decades.
With reports of fatal accidents being on the rise for the first time in years, the IIHS recommends that in the meantime people remember the basics of safe driving such as wearing seatbelts, never driving impaired, and obeying speed limits. And the importance of paying attention to the road rather than your smart phone can’t be emphasized enough.
The beginning of the Holiday Season is a little different for everyone. Maybe you start decorating the day after Halloween or, if you’re one of our neighbours south of the border, you might wait until after the U.S. Thanksgiving celebrations. Whatever the case may be, by the time December comes around, the festive buzz in the air is undeniable.
This time of year, it’s easy to get caught up in the hectic excitement as we’re driving to parties, gatherings, and shopping centres. Collision Analysis would like to remind everyone to stay safe on those busy roads and never drive under the influence.
this Holiday Season
the New Year!
Canada Aligns Rear-View Visibility Standards with the U.S.
Back in April 2014, we posted about the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new rule on rear visibility technology. The Final Rule mandates that all new light duty vehicles less than 10,000 pounds (such as passenger cars, SUVs and light trucks) have rear visibility technology by May 1, 2018. Transport Canada recently announced that Canadian rear-view visibility standards will be aligned with the U.S.
The amendment will mandate that systems show a rear-view image to the driver. While many vehicles already are equipped with backup cameras, parking sensors won’t meet the new requirement.
The large blind zone in many vehicles, particularly SUVs and pickup trucks, increases the risk of back-over incidents. Transport Canada estimates that back-over collisions killed 24 to 27 people and injured approximately 1,500 from 2004 to 2009. In the United States, it is reported that there are 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries each year on average caused by back-over incidents.
The new regulations were formally posted in the Canada Gazette for a 75-day comment period.
To read about tests conducted by the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety comparing rear camera systems to parking sensors, click here.
On-Scene – Fall 2016
You likely already know about passenger vehicle Event Data Recorders (EDRs), still sometimes referred to as “black boxes.” You may also know that downloading and interpreting crash data from EDRs require special equipment and training.
But did you know that most heavy vehicles also have EDRs? However, the task of accessing and interpreting the data recorded by a heavy vehicle EDR, or HVEDR, is much more complex compared to passenger vehicles.
To learn more about HVEDRs, watch for the Fall 2016 issue of our On-Scene newsletter.
If you’re not on our mailing list, click here to subscribe to On-Scene free of charge!
Pets and Airbags
We’ve probably all heard warnings that drivers should not allow their pets to ride in their laps. While the focus of distracted driving campaigns has been on cell phone usage, particularly texting, anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the road is potentially a hazard. Certainly an energetic lap dog would qualify as a distraction.
An unfortunate incident in British Columbia has brought to light another reason to keep animals out of laps while driving. Police report that a family dog was in the driver’s lap when a collision occurred, causing the frontal airbags to deploy. There were no reported injuries to the driver or passengers; however, the deploying airbag critically injured the small lap dog, which sustained significant internal injuries.
Airbags are best at reducing injuries to properly belted occupants. Even today’s advanced airbags deploy with a great amount of force, which is why it is still recommended that children be seated in the rear, away from frontal airbags, whenever possible. The same advice applies to pets.
The full story can be found here.