Why is technology not leading to fewer crashes?

Car manufacturers continue to develop ways to keep you safer when driving. From crumple zones to airbags, from automatic braking assistance to cameras for reversing. So why are crash statistics not improving?

There are several reasons, but some relate to the other features manufacturers have added to cars.

Modern cars are full of distracting technology

When you enter a showroom, the car dealer highlights how each technology it comes with is going to make your life better. How hands-free systems allow you to still take calls without needing to remove your hands from the wheel. How the satnav allows you to navigate without pulling out a map. Or how the tactile screen allows you to choose from thousands of tracks without needing to insert a CD or cassette tape.

The thing is, you probably shouldn’t be doing any of these things while driving. Making it easier makes it more likely you will try to do so.

Technology can distract you in several ways

Many of these electronic devices still require the occasional use of your hands. They also require you to look at them and spend time thinking about them. 

For example, you cannot blindly choose from a list of music, you need to look at the names of the song or artists and think about which you want. As it is so easy, people often switch tunes constantly.

When everyone had to put in a cassette, people tended to let it run till the end, guaranteeing music for 60 or 90 minutes without the need to do more. In many ways, it was safer. When making a phone call required stopping to find a phonebox, that too was safer than having the ability to contact people as you drive.

Manufacturers are not going to stop including these things. It’s up to drivers to use them responsibly. If someone gets distracted by them and injures you in a crash, you need to learn how to hold them responsible.