For decades, traffic accidents have been by far the leading cause of accidental death among teenagers. Currently, approximately 13 teens die per day in traffic accidents.
On the technology front, companies such as automotive supplier Continental, which works with nearly every global automaker, offer new features that help drivers avoid accidents and make these less severe when they do occur.
"Already, we have saved thousands of lives in this country and billions of dollars by making vehicles more crashworthy and improving enforcement and education," said automotive expert Samir Salman. "Just think of the benefits to society if we can cut accidents in half and eventually to zero through active and passive safety technologies. It's millions more lives protected and billions more dollars saved."
One of the new technologies at the forefront of this safety revolution is Collision Mitigation Braking, which uses radar and in-car cameras to monitor traffic ahead and activate the brakes automatically if a collision looks imminent.
Lane departure and blind-spot warning systems are two other innovative features that rely on in-car cameras to help drivers avoid accidents. These systems give audible and visual warnings if a vehicle begins to drift out of its lane or begins to change lanes with another vehicle in the way. The most advanced lane departure system will actually steer the vehicle back into its lane, if necessary.
According to a recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, these and other new crash-avoidance technologies may prevent or reduce the severity of 3.4 million accidents per year and save as many as 20,700 lives for a 60 percent reduction in highway fatalities. Improved safety systems could also reduce the economic impact of motor vehicle-related deaths, injuries and property damage, which together cost the country more than $150 billion per year.