Car safety
Overview
 
Automobile safety is the study and practice of vehicle
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 design, construction, and equipment to minimize the occurrence and consequences of automobile accidents. (Road traffic safety more broadly includes roadway design. One of the first formal academic studies into improving car safety was by Cornell Aeronautical Labs of Buffalo, New York. The main conclusion of their extensive report is the crucial importance of seat belt
Seat belt
A seat belt or seatbelt, sometimes called a safety belt, is a safety harness designed to secure the occupant of a vehicle against harmful movement that may result from a collision or a sudden stop...

s and padded dashboards.
Encyclopedia
Automobile safety is the study and practice of vehicle
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 design, construction, and equipment to minimize the occurrence and consequences of automobile accidents. (Road traffic safety more broadly includes roadway design. One of the first formal academic studies into improving car safety was by Cornell Aeronautical Labs of Buffalo, New York. The main conclusion of their extensive report is the crucial importance of seat belt
Seat belt
A seat belt or seatbelt, sometimes called a safety belt, is a safety harness designed to secure the occupant of a vehicle against harmful movement that may result from a collision or a sudden stop...

s and padded dashboards.

Improvements in roadway and automobile designs have steadily reduced injury and death rates in all first world
First World
The concept of the First World first originated during the Cold War, where it was used to describe countries that were aligned with the United States. These countries were democratic and capitalistic. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the term "First World" took on a...

 countries. Nevertheless, auto collisions are the leading cause of injury-related deaths, an estimated total of 1.2 million in 2004, or 25% of the total from all causes. Risk compensation
Risk compensation
In ethology, risk compensation is an effect whereby individual people may tend to adjust their behavior in response to perceived changes in risk. It is seen as self-evident that individuals will tend to behave in a more cautious manner if their perception of risk or danger increases...

 limits the improvement that can be made, often leading to reduced safety where one might expect the opposite.

Occupational driving

Work-related roadway crashes are the leading cause of death from traumatic injuries in the U.S. workplace. They accounted for nearly 12,000 deaths between 1992 and 2000. Deaths and injuries from these roadway crashes result in increased costs to employers and lost productivity in addition to their toll in human suffering. Truck drivers tend to endure higher fatality rates than workers in other occupations, but concerns about motor vehicle safety in the workplace are not limited to those surrounding the operation of large trucks. Workers outside the motor carrier industry routinely operate company-owned vehicles for deliveries, sales and repair calls, client visits etc. In these instances, the employer providing the vehicle generally plays a major role in setting safety, maintenance, and training policy. As in non-occupational driving, young drivers are especially at risk. In the workplace, 45% of all fatal injuries to workers under age 18 between 1992 and 2000 in the United States resulted from transportation incidents.

Active and passive safety

The terms "active" and "passive" are simple but important terms in the world of automotive safety. "Active safety" is used to refer to technology assisting in the prevention of a crash and "passive safety" to components of the vehicle (primarily airbags, seatbelts and the physical structure of the vehicle) that help to protect occupants during a crash.

Crash avoidance

Crash avoidance systems and devices help the driver — and, increasingly, help the vehicle itself — to avoid a collision. This category includes:
  • The vehicle's headlamp
    Headlamp
    A headlamp is a lamp, usually attached to the front of a vehicle such as a car or a motorcycle, with the purpose of illuminating the road ahead during periods of low visibility, such as darkness or precipitation. Headlamp performance has steadily improved throughout the automobile age, spurred by...

    s, reflectors
    Retroreflector
    A retroreflector is a device or surface that reflects light back to its source with a minimum scattering of light. An electromagnetic wave front is reflected back along a vector that is parallel to but opposite in direction from the wave's source. The device or surface's angle of incidence is...

    , and other lights and signals
    Automotive lighting
    The lighting system of a motor vehicle consists of lighting and signalling devices mounted or integrated to the front, sides, rear, and in some cases the top of the motor vehicle...

  • The vehicle's mirror
    Mirror
    A mirror is an object that reflects light or sound in a way that preserves much of its original quality prior to its contact with the mirror. Some mirrors also filter out some wavelengths, while preserving other wavelengths in the reflection...

    s
  • The vehicle's brake
    Brake
    A brake is a mechanical device which inhibits motion. Its opposite component is a clutch. The rest of this article is dedicated to various types of vehicular brakes....

    s, steering
    Steering
    Steering is the term applied to the collection of components, linkages, etc. which will allow a vessel or vehicle to follow the desired course...

    , and suspension
    Suspension (vehicle)
    Suspension is the term given to the system of springs, shock absorbers and linkages that connects a vehicle to its wheels. Suspension systems serve a dual purpose — contributing to the car's roadholding/handling and braking for good active safety and driving pleasure, and keeping vehicle occupants...

     systems


Driver assistance
A subset
Subset
In mathematics, especially in set theory, a set A is a subset of a set B if A is "contained" inside B. A and B may coincide. The relationship of one set being a subset of another is called inclusion or sometimes containment...

 of crash avoidance is driver assistance systems, which help the driver to detect ordinarily-hidden obstacles and to control the vehicle. Driver assistance systems include:
  • Automatic Braking
    Automatic Braking
    Automatic Braking is a technology for automobiles to sense an imminent collision with another vehicle, person or obstacle; or a danger such as a high speed approach to a stop sign and to respond with the braking system by either precharging the brakes or by applying the brakes to slow the vehicle...

     systems to prevent or reduce the severity of collision.
  • Infrared night vision
    Automotive night vision
    An automotive night vision system is a system to increase a vehicle driver's perception and seeing distance in darkness or poor weather beyond the reach of the vehicle's headlights...

     systems to increase seeing distance beyond headlamp range
  • Adaptive headlamps control the direction and range of the headlight beams to light the driver's way through curves and maximize seeing distance without glaring other drivers
  • Reverse backup sensors
    Reverse backup sensors
    Parking sensors are proximity sensors for road vehicles which can alert the driver to unseen obstacles during parking manoeuvres.Parking sensors generally fall into two categories.1. Electromagnetic parking sensors...

    , which alert drivers to difficult-to-see objects in their path when reversing
  • Backup camera
    Backup camera
    A backup camera is a special type of video camera that is produced specifically for the purpose of being attached to the rear of a vehicle to aid in backing up. Backup cameras are alternatively known as 'reversing cameras' or 'rear view cameras'....

  • Adaptive cruise control which maintains a safe distance from the vehicle in front
  • Lane departure warning systems
    Lane departure warning system
    In road-transport terminology, a lane departure warning system is a mechanism designed to warn a driver when the vehicle begins to move out of its lane on freeways and arterial roads. These systems are designed to minimize accidents by addressing the main causes of collisions: driver error,...

     to alert the driver of an unintended departure from the intended lane of travel
  • Tire pressure monitoring
    Direct TPMS
    Direct TPMS, or direct tire pressure monitoring systems refers to the use of a pressure sensor directly mounted on the wheels or tires of a vehicle. The pressure inside the tire is measured using a pressure transducer with the pressure information being subsequently sent to the vehicle to warn the...

     systems or Deflation Detection Systems
  • Traction control system
    Traction control system
    A traction control system , also known as anti-slip regulation , is typically a secondary function of the anti-lock braking system on production motor vehicles, designed to prevent loss of traction of driven road wheels...

    s which restore traction if driven wheels begin to spin
  • Electronic Stability Control
    Electronic Stability Control
    Electronic stability control is a computerized technology that may potentially improve the safety of a vehicle's stability by detecting and minimizing skids. When ESC detects loss of steering control, it automatically applies the brakes to help "steer" the vehicle where the driver intends to go...

    , which intervenes to avert an impending loss of control
  • Anti-lock braking system
    Anti-lock braking system
    An anti-lock braking system is a safety system that allows the wheels on a motor vehicle to continue interacting tractively with the road surface as directed by driver steering inputs while braking, preventing the wheels from locking up and therefore avoiding skidding.An ABS generally offers...

    s
  • Electronic brakeforce distribution
    Electronic brakeforce distribution
    Electronic brakeforce distribution ', Electronic brakeforce limitation ' is an automobile brake technology that automatically varies the amount of force applied to each of a vehicle's brakes, based on road conditions, speed, loading, etc...

     systems
  • Emergency brake assist
    Emergency Brake Assist
    Emergency Brake Assist is a safety system in motor vehicles designed to ensure maximum braking power is used in an emergency stop situation...

     systems
  • Cornering Brake Control
    Cornering Brake Control
    Cornering Brake Control or CBC is an automotive safety system developed by BMW. It is a further development and expansion of the anti-lock braking system, designed to distribute braking force during braking whilst cornering.-See also:...

     systems
  • Precrash system
    Precrash system
    A precrash system is an automobile safety system designed to reduce the severity of an accident. Also known as forward collision warning systems they use radar and sometimes laser sensors to detect an imminent crash...

  • Automated parking
    Intelligent Parking Assist System
    Intelligent Parking Assist System , also known as the Advanced Parking Guidance System for Lexus models in the United States, is the first production automatic parking system developed by Toyota Motor Corporation in 2004 initially for the Japanese market hybrid Prius models and later Lexus models....

     system

Crashworthiness

Crashworthy
Crashworthiness
Crashworthiness is the ability of a structure to protect its occupants during an impact. This is commonly tested when investigating the safety of aircraft and vehicles. Depending on the nature of the impact and the vehicle involved, different criteria are used to determine the crashworthiness of...

 systems and devices prevent or reduce the severity of injuries when a crash is imminent or actually happening. Much research is carried out using anthropomorphic crash test dummies
Crash test dummy
Crash test dummies are full-scale anthropomorphic test devices that simulate the dimensions, weight proportions and articulation of the human body, and are usually instrumented to record data about the dynamic behavior of the ATD in simulated vehicle impacts...

.
  • Seatbelts limit the forward motion of an occupant, stretch to absorb energy, to lengthen the time of the occupant's deceleration in a crash, reducing the loading on the occupants body. They prevent occupants being ejected from the vehicle and ensure that they are in the correct position for the operation of the airbags.
  • Airbag
    Airbag
    An Airbag is a vehicle safety device. It is an occupant restraint consisting of a flexible envelope designed to inflate rapidly during an automobile collision, to prevent occupants from striking interior objects such as the steering wheel or a window...

    s inflate to cushion the impact of a vehicle occupant with various parts of the vehicle's interior. The most important being the prevention of direct impact of the driver's head with the steering wheel and door pillar.
  • Laminated windshields
    Laminated glass
    Laminated glass is a type of safety glass that holds together when shattered. In the event of breaking, it is held in place by an interlayer, typically of polyvinyl butyral , between its two or more layers of glass. The interlayer keeps the layers of glass bonded even when broken, and its high...

     remain in one piece when impacted, preventing penetration of unbelted occupants' heads and maintaining a minimal but adequate transparency for control of the car immediately following a collision. It is also a bonded structural part of the safety cell. Tempered glass
    Toughened glass
    Toughened or tempered glass is a type of safety glass processed by controlled thermal or chemical treatments to increase its strength compared with normal glass. Tempering creates balanced internal stresses which cause the glass, when broken, to crumble into small granular chunks instead of...

     side and rear windows break into granules with minimally sharp edges, rather than splintering into jagged fragments as ordinary glass does.
  • Crumple zone
    Crumple zone
    The crumple zone is a structural feature mainly of automobiles. Crumple zones have also been incorporated into railcars in recent years.They are designed to absorb the energy from the impact during an accident by controlled deformation. This energy is much higher than is commonly recognized...

    s absorb and dissipate the force of a collision, displacing and diverting it away from the passenger compartment and reducing the deceleration impact force on the vehicle occupants. Vehicles will include a front, rear and maybe side crumple zones (like Volvo SIPS) too.
  • Safety Cell - the passenger compartment is reinforced with high strength materials, at places subject high loads in a crash, in order to maintain a survival space for the vehicle occupants.
  • Side impact protection beams.
  • Collapsible universally jointed steering columns, along with steering wheel airbag. The steering system is mounted behind the front axle - behind and protected by, the front crumple zone. This reduces the risk and severity of driver impact or even impalement on the column in a frontal crash.
  • Pedestrian protection systems.
  • Padding of the instrument panel and other interior parts, on the vehicle in areas likely to be struck by the occupants during a crash, and the careful placement of mounting brackets away from those areas.
  • Cargo barriers are sometimes fitted to provide a physical barrier between passenger and cargo compartments in vehicles such as SUVs, station wagons and vans
    Vans
    Vans is an American based manufacturer of sneakers, skateboarding shoes, BMX shoes, snowboarding boots and other shoe types.- History :On March 16, 1966, at 704 E. Broadway, in Anaheim, California, brothers Paul Van Doren, James Van Doren, and three other partners opened up their first store...

    . These help prevent injuries caused by occupants being struck by unsecured cargo. They can also help prevent collapse of the roof in the event of a vehicle rollover.

Post-crash survivability

Post-crash survivability is the chance that you can survive a crash after it occurs.

Pedestrian safety

Since at least the early 1970s, attention has also been given to vehicle design regarding the safety of pedestrians in car-pedestrian collisions
Pedestrian safety through vehicle design
Almost two-thirds of the 1.2 million people killed annually in road traffic crashes worldwide are pedestrians. Despite the magnitude of the problem, most attempts at reducing pedestrian deaths have focused solely on education and traffic regulation...

. Proposals in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 would require cars sold there to have a minimum/maximum hood (bonnet) height. From 2006 the use of "bull bar
Bull bar
A bullbar is a device fitted to the front of a vehicle to protect it and its passengers from damage in a collision with an animal. They vary considerably in size and form, and are usually made of welded steel or aluminium tubing, and, more recently, moulded polycarbonate and polyethylene materials...

s", a fashion on 4x4s
Four Wheel Drive
The Four Wheel Drive Auto Company, more often known as Four Wheel Drive or just FWD, was founded in 1909 in Clintonville, Wisconsin, as the Badger Four-Wheel Drive Auto Company by Otto Zachow and William Besserdich.-History:...

 and SUVs, became illegal in the European Union, after having been banned on all new cars in 2002.

Lights and reflectors

Vehicles are equipped with a variety of lights and reflectors to mark their presence, position, width, length, and direction of travel as well as to convey the driver's intent and actions to other drivers. These include the vehicle's headlamps, front and rear position lamps, side marker lights and reflectors, turn signals, stop (brake) lamps, and reversing lamps. School bus
School bus
A school bus is a type of bus designed and manufactured for student transport: carrying children and teenagers to and from school and school events...

es and Semi-trailer truck
Semi-trailer truck
A semi-trailer truck, also known as a semi, tractor-trailer, or articulated truck or articulated lorry, is an articulated vehicle consisting of a towing engine , and a semi-trailer A semi-trailer truck, also known as a semi, tractor-trailer, or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) articulated truck...

s in North America are required to bear retroreflective strips outlining their side and rear perimeters for greater conspicuity at night.

Daytime running lamp
Daytime running lamp
A daytime running lamp is an automotive lighting device on the front of a roadgoing motor vehicle, installed in pairs, automatically switched on when the vehicle is moving forward, emitting white, yellow, or amber light to increase the conspicuity of the vehicle during daylight...

s have been required in Nordic countries since the mid-1970s, in Canada since 1990, and throughout the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 since 7 February 2011.

Vehicle colour

A Swedish study found that pink cars are involved in the fewest and black cars are involved in the most crashes (Land transport NZ 2005).

In Auckland New Zealand, a study found that there was a significantly lower rate of serious injury in silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 cars; with higher rates in brown, black, and green cars. (Furness et al., 2003)

The Vehicle Colour Study, conducted by Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) and published in 2007, analysed 855,258 accidents occurring between 1987 and 2004 in the Australian states of Victoria and Western Australia that resulted in injury or in a vehicle being towed away. The study analysed risk by light condition. It found that in daylight black cars were 12% more likely than white to be involved in an accident, followed by grey cars at 11%, silver cars at 10%, and red and blue cars at 7%, with no other colours found to be significantly more or less risky than white. At dawn or dusk the risk ratio for black cars jumped to 47% more likely than white, and that for silver cars to 15%. In the hours of darkness only red and silver cars were found to be significantly more risky than white, by 10% and 8% respectively.

History

Automobile safety may have become an issue almost from the beginning of mechanised road vehicle development. The second steam-powered "Fardier" (artillery tractor), created by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot
Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot
Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot was a French inventor. He is believed to have built the first self-propelled mechanical vehicle...

 in 1771, is reported by some to have crashed into a wall during its demonstration run. However according to Georges Ageon, the earliest mention of this occurrence dates from 1801 and it does not feature in contemporary accounts.

One of the earliest recorded automobile fatalities was Mary Ward
Mary Ward (scientist)
Mary Ward was an Irish amateur scientist who was killed when she fell under the wheels of an experimental steam car built by her cousins. As the event occurred in 1869, she is the world's first known motor vehicle accident victim...

, on August 31, 1869 in Parsonstown, Ireland.

In the 1930s, plastic surgeon Claire L. Straith
Claire L. Straith
Claire L. Straith was an American plastic surgeon.Dr. Straith was a pioneer of Automobile safety. He described the cranial and facial injuries created by the dashboards and windshields in case of a car crash and advocated the use of seat belts and padded dashboards According to Joel W. Eastman,...

 and physician C. J. Strickland advocated the use of seat belt
Seat belt
A seat belt or seatbelt, sometimes called a safety belt, is a safety harness designed to secure the occupant of a vehicle against harmful movement that may result from a collision or a sudden stop...

s and padded dashboard
Dashboard
A dashboard is a control panel placed in front of the driver of an automobile, housing instrumentation and controls for operation of the vehicle....

s. Strickland founded the Automobile Safety League of America.

In 1934, GM
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

 performed the first barrier crash test
Crash test
A crash test is a form of destructive testing usually performed in order to ensure safe design standards in crashworthiness and crash compatibility for various modes of transportation or related systems and components.- Types :...

.

In 1937, Chrysler
Chrysler
Chrysler Group LLC is a multinational automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925....

, Plymouth
Plymouth
Plymouth is a city and unitary authority area on the coast of Devon, England, about south-west of London. It is built between the mouths of the rivers Plym to the east and Tamar to the west, where they join Plymouth Sound...

, DeSoto, and Dodge
Dodge
Dodge is a United States-based brand of automobiles, minivans, and sport utility vehicles, manufactured and marketed by Chrysler Group LLC in more than 60 different countries and territories worldwide....

 added such items as a flat, smooth dash with recessed controls, rounded door handles, and the back of the front
seat heavily padded to provide protection for rear passengers.

In 1942, Hugh DeHaven published the classic Mechanical analysis of survival in falls from heights of fifty to one hundred and fifty feet.

In 1947 the American Tucker
1948 Tucker Sedan
The 1948 Tucker Sedan or Tucker '48 Sedan was an advanced automobile conceived by Preston Tucker and briefly produced in Chicago in 1948...

 was built with the world's first padded dashboard.

In 1949 SAAB incorporated aircraft safety thinking into automobiles making the Saab 92
Saab 92
Saab 92 is an automobile from Saab. The design was very aerodynamic for its time, and the cW value was 0.30 . The entire body was stamped out of one piece of sheet metal and then cut to accommodate doors and windows. Full-scale production started December 12, 1949, based on the prototype Saab 92001...

 the first production SAAB car with a safety cage.

In 1956, Ford tried unsuccessfully to interest Americans in purchasing safer cars with their Lifeguard
Lifeguard (Automobile safety)
Lifeguard was the name of a 1956 safety package marketed by the Ford Motor Company.Spurred by Robert McNamara, the Cornell University crash research program and the first year of Ford's own crash testing the Lifeguard package included:...

 safety package. (Its attempt nevertheless earns Ford Motor Trend
Motor Trend
Motor Trend is an American automobile magazine. It first appeared in September 1949, issued by Petersen Publishing Company in Los Angeles, and bearing the tag line "The Magazine for a Motoring World". Petersen Publishing was sold to British publisher EMAP in 1998, who sold the former Petersen...

's "Car of the Year" award for 1956.)

In 1958, the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 established the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations
World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations
The World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations is a working party of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe...

, an international
International
----International mostly means something that involves more than one country. The term international as a word means involvement of, interaction between or encompassing more than one nation, or generally beyond national boundaries...

 standards body advancing auto safety. Many of the most life saving safety innovations, like seat belts and roll cage
Roll cage
A roll cage is a specially constructed frame built in the cab of a vehicle to protect its occupants from being injured in an accident, particularly in the event of a roll-over. Roll cages are used in nearly all purpose-built racecars, and in most cars modified for racing...

 construction were brought to market under its auspices. That same year, Volvo
Volvo
AB Volvo is a Swedish builder of commercial vehicles, including trucks, buses and construction equipment. Volvo also supplies marine and industrial drive systems, aerospace components and financial services...

 engineer Nils Bohlin invented and patented the three-point lap and shoulder seat belt
Seat belt
A seat belt or seatbelt, sometimes called a safety belt, is a safety harness designed to secure the occupant of a vehicle against harmful movement that may result from a collision or a sudden stop...

, which became standard equipment on all Volvo cars in 1959. Over the next several decades, three-point safety belts were gradually mandated in all vehicles by regulators throughout the industrialised world.

In 1966, the U.S. established the United States Department of Transportation
United States Department of Transportation
The United States Department of Transportation is a federal Cabinet department of the United States government concerned with transportation. It was established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966, and began operation on April 1, 1967...

 (DOT) with automobile safety one of its purposes. The National Transportation Safety Board
National Transportation Safety Board
The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent U.S. government investigative agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation. In this role, the NTSB investigates and reports on aviation accidents and incidents, certain types of highway crashes, ship and marine...

 (NTSB) was created as an independent organization on April 1, 1967, but was reliant on the DOT for administration and funding. However, in 1975 the organization was made completely independent by the Independent Safety Board Act (in P.L. 93-633; 49 U.S.C.
Title 49 of the United States Code
Title 49 of the United States Code is a code that regards the role of transportation in the United States of America.The title was enacted by , § 1, October 17, 1978, ; , § 1, January 12, 1983, ; and , July 5, 1994,...

 1901).

Volvo developed the first rear-facing child seat in 1964 and introduced its own booster seat in 1978.

In 1979, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is an agency of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government, part of the Department of Transportation...

 (NHTSA) began crash-testing popular cars and publishing the results, to inform consumers and encourage manufacturers to improve the safety of their vehicles. Initially, the US NCAP crash tests examined compliance with the occupant-protection provisions of FMVSS 208. Over the subsequent years, this NHTSA program was gradually expanded in scope. In 1997, the European New Car Assessment Programme
EuroNCAP
The European New Car Assessment Programme is a European car safety performance assessment programme based in Brussels and founded in 1997 by the Transport Research Laboratory for the UK Department for Transport and backed by several European governments.-History and activities:Euro NCAP is a...

 (Euro NCAP) was established to test new vehicles' safety performance and publish the results for vehicle shoppers' information. The NHTSA crash tests are presently operated and published as the U.S. branch of the international NCAP programme.

In 1984, New York State passed the first US law requiring seat belt use in passenger cars. Seat belt laws have since been adopted by all 50 states, except for New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

. and NHTSA estimates increased seat belt use as a result save 10,000 per year in the USA.

In 1986, the central 3rd brake light was mandated in North America. Over the next 15 years, most of the world's other jurisdictions mandated the 3rd brake lamp as well.

In 1995, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a U.S. non-profit organization funded by auto insurers, established in 1959 and headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. It works to reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes, and the rate of injuries and amount of property damage in the crashes that...

 (IIHS) began frontal offset crash tests.

In 1997, EuroNCAP was founded.

In 2003, the IIHS began conducting side impact crash tests.

In 2004, NHTSA released new tests designed to test the rollover risk of new cars and SUVs
Sport utility vehicle
A sport utility vehicle is a generic marketing term for a vehicle similar to a station wagon, but built on a light-truck chassis. It is usually equipped with four-wheel drive for on- or off-road ability, and with some pretension or ability to be used as an off-road vehicle. Not all four-wheel...

. Only the Mazda RX-8
Mazda RX-8
The Mazda RX-8 is a sports car manufactured by Mazda Motor Corporation. It first appeared in 2001 at the North American International Auto Show. It is the successor to the RX-7 and, like its predecessors in the RX range, it is powered by a Wankel engine. The RX-8 began North American sales in the...

 got a 5-star rating.

In 2009, Citroën became the first manufacturer to feature "Snowmotion", an Intelligent Anti Skid system developed in conjunction with Bosch, which gives drivers a level of control in extreme ice or snow conditions similar to a 4x4

Safety trends

Despite technological advances, about 40,000 people die every year in the U.S. Although the fatality rates per vehicle registered and per vehicle distance travelled have steadily decreased since the advent of significant vehicle and driver regulation, the raw number of fatalities generally increases as a function of rising population and more vehicles on the road. However, sharp rises in the price of fuel and related driver behavioural changes are reducing 2007-8 highway fatalities in the U.S. to below the 1961 fatality count. Litigation has been central in the struggle to mandate safer cars.

International comparison
In 1996, the U.S. had about 2 deaths per 10,000 motor vehicles, compared to 1.9 in Germany, 2.6 in France, and 1.5 in the UK. In 1998, there were 3,421 fatal accidents in the UK, the fewest since 1926; in 2010 this number was further reduced to 1,857 and was attributed to the 09/10 scrappage scheme.

The sizable traffic safety lead enjoyed by the USA since the 1960s had narrowed significantly by 2002, with the US improvement percentages lagging in 16th place behind those of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

, the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, and Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 in terms of deaths per thousand vehicles, while in terms of deaths per 100 million vehicle miles travelled, the USA had dropped from first place to tenth place.

Government-collected data, such as that from the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System
Fatality Analysis Reporting System
Fatality Analysis Reporting System was created in the United States by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to provide an overall measure of highway safety, to help suggest solutions, and to help provide an objective basis to evaluate the effectiveness of motor vehicle safety...

, show other countries achieving safety performance improvements over time greater than those achieved in the U.S.:
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1979 Fatalities

2002 Fatalities

Percent Change

United States

51,093

42,815

-16.2%

Great Britain

6,352

3,431

-46.0%

Canada

5,863

2,936

-49.9%

Australia

3,508

1,715

-51.1%

Research on the trends in use of heavy vehicles indicate that a significant difference between the U.S. and other countries is the relatively high prevalence of pickup truck
Pickup truck
A pickup truck is a light motor vehicle with an open-top rear cargo area .-Definition:...

s and SUVs in the U.S. A 2003 study by the U.S. Transportation Research Board
Transportation Research Board
The Transportation Research Board is a division of the National Research Council, which serves as an independent adviser to the President, the Congress and federal agencies on scientific and technical questions of national importance...

 found that SUVs and pickup trucks are significantly less safe than passenger cars, that imported-brand vehicles tend to be safer than American-brand vehicles, and that the size and weight of a vehicle has a significantly smaller effect on safety than the quality of the vehicle's engineering. The level of large commercial truck traffic has substantially increased since the 1960s, while highway capacity has not kept pace with the increase in large commercial truck traffic on U.S. highways. However, other factors exert significant influence; Canada has lower roadway death and injury rates despite a vehicle mix comparable to that of the U.S. Nevertheless, the widespread use of truck-based vehicles as passenger carriers is correlated with roadway deaths and injuries not only directly by dint of vehicular safety performance per se, but also indirectly through the relatively low fuel costs that facilitate the use of such vehicles in North America; motor vehicle fatalities decline as fuel prices increase.

NHTSA has issued relatively few regulations since the mid 1980s; most of the vehicle-based reduction in vehicle fatality rates in the U.S. during the last third of the 20th Century were gained by the initial NHTSA safety standards issued from 1968 to 1984 and subsequent voluntary changes in vehicle design and construction by vehicle manufacturers.

Pregnant women

When pregnant, women should continue to use seatbelts and airbags properly. A University of Michigan study found that "unrestrained or improperly restrained pregnant women are 5.7 times more likely to have an adverse fatal outcome than properly restrained pregnant women". If seatbelts are not long enough, extensions are available from the car manufacturer or an aftermarket supplier.

Infants and children

Children present significant challenges in engineering and producing safe vehicles, because most children are significantly smaller and lighter than most adults. Safety devices and systems designed and optimised to protect adults — particularly calibration-sensitive devices like airbags and active seat belts — can be ineffective or hazardous to children. In recognition of this, many medical professionals and jurisdictions recommend or require that children under a particular age, height, and/or weight ride in a child seat and/or in the back seat, as applicable. In Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, for instance, a child or an adult shorter than 140 cm is legally forbidden to ride in a place with an active airbag in front of it.

Child safety lock
Child safety lock
A child safety lock is a special-purpose lock for cabinets, drawers, bottles, etc. that is designed to help prevent children from getting at any dangerous contents. Young children are naturally curious about their surroundings and will always explore, but as they may be unaware of dangerous...

s and driver-controlled power window
Power window
Power windows or electric windows as well as electric or power window lifts are automobile windows which can be raised and lowered by depressing a button or switch, as opposed to using a hand-turned crank handle.- History :Packard introduced the first power windows in the 1940 Packard...

 lockout controls prevent children from opening doors and windows from inside the vehicle.

Infants left in cars
Very young children can perish from heat or cold if left unattended in a parked car, whether deliberately or through absentmindedness. In 2004 the U.S. NHTSA estimated 25 fatalities per year among children left in hot cars.

Teenage drivers

In the UK, a full driving licence can be had at age 17, and most areas in the United States will issue a full driver's license at the age of 16, and all within a range between 14 and 18. In addition to being relatively inexperienced, teen drivers are also cognitively immature, compared to other drivers. This combination leads to a relatively high crash rate among this demographic.

In some areas, new drivers' vehicles must bear a warning sign to alert other drivers that the vehicle is being driven by an inexperienced and learning driver, giving them opportunity to be more cautious and to encourage other drivers to give novices more leeway. In the US New Jersey has Kyleigh's Law citing that teen drivers must have a decal on their vehicle. Commercial services also exist to that provide a notification phone number to report unsafe driving such as IsmyKidDrivingSafe.com and CarefulTeenDriver.com.

Some countries, such as Australia, the United States, Canada and New Zealand, have graduated levels of driver's licence, with special rules. By 2010, all US states required a graduated driver's licence for drivers under age 18. In Italy, the maximum speed and power of vehicles driven by new drivers is restricted. In Romania, the maximum speed of vehicles driven by new drivers (less than one year in experience) is 20 km/h lower than the national standard (except villages, towns and cities). Many U.S. states allow 18-year-olds to skip some requirements that younger drivers would face, which statistics show may be causing higher accident rates among new drivers. New Jersey has the same requirements for new drivers up to the age of 21, which may obviate this problem.

Elderly

Insurance statistics in the United States indicate a 30% increase in the number of elderly killed, comparing 1975 to 2000.
Several states require additional testing for elderly drivers. On a per-driver basis, the number of fatal and overall crashes decreases with age, with some exceptions for drivers over 75. The overall trend may be due to greater experience and avoiding driving in adverse conditions. However, on a per-miles-travelled basis, drivers younger than 25-30 and older than 65-70 have significantly higher accident rates. Survivability of crashes decreases monotonically with the age of the victim.

A common problem for the elderly is the question of when a medical condition or biological aging presents a serious enough problem that one should stop driving. In some cases, this means giving up some personal independence, but in urban areas often means relying more on public transportation. Many transit systems offer discounted fares to seniors, and some local governments run "senior shuttles" specifically targeted at this demographic.

See also

  • Artificial Passenger
    Artificial Passenger
    The Artificial Passenger is a telematic device developed by IBM that interacts verbally to reduce the likelihood of a vehicle operator falling asleep at the controls. It is based on inventions covered by U.S...

  • Aurora safety car (1957)
    Aurora (1957 automobile)
    The Aurora was an American automobile manufactured by Father Alfred A. Juliano, a Catholic priest, from 1957 to 1958. The Aurora is arguably the first Experimental Safety Vehicle ever made, even before the coinage of the ESV acronym. This safety car was to be available with a Chrysler, Cadillac,...

  • Automated highway system
  • Automobile design
  • Automobile safety rating
    Automobile safety rating
    An Automobile Safety Rating is a rating given by a testing organisation to a motor vehicle indicating the safety of occupants in the event of a motor vehicle accident.- Australia :...

  • Car accident
    Car accident
    A traffic collision, also known as a traffic accident, motor vehicle collision, motor vehicle accident, car accident, automobile accident, Road Traffic Collision or car crash, occurs when a vehicle collides with another vehicle, pedestrian, animal, road debris, or other stationary obstruction,...

  • Car handling
    Car handling
    Automobile handling and vehicle handling are descriptions of the way wheeled vehicles perform transverse to their direction of motion, particularly during cornering and swerving. It also includes their stability when moving at rest. Handling and braking are the major components of a vehicle's...

  • Crash test dummy
    Crash test dummy
    Crash test dummies are full-scale anthropomorphic test devices that simulate the dimensions, weight proportions and articulation of the human body, and are usually instrumented to record data about the dynamic behavior of the ATD in simulated vehicle impacts...

  • Crashworthiness
    Crashworthiness
    Crashworthiness is the ability of a structure to protect its occupants during an impact. This is commonly tested when investigating the safety of aircraft and vehicles. Depending on the nature of the impact and the vehicle involved, different criteria are used to determine the crashworthiness of...

  • Criticism of sport utility vehicles
    Criticism of sport utility vehicles
    Sport utility vehicles , trucks, vans and other large vehicles are often criticized for a variety of environmental and safety-related reasons.-Safety:...

  • Crumple zone
    Crumple zone
    The crumple zone is a structural feature mainly of automobiles. Crumple zones have also been incorporated into railcars in recent years.They are designed to absorb the energy from the impact during an accident by controlled deformation. This energy is much higher than is commonly recognized...

  • Defensive driving
    Defensive driving
    The standard Safe Practices for Motor Vehicle Operations, ANSI/ASSE Z15.1, defines defensive driving as "driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others." This definition is taken from the National Safety Council's Defensive Driving Course...

  • Driverless car
    Driverless car
    An autonomous car, also known as robotic or informally as driverless, is an autonomous vehicle capable of fulfilling the human transportation capabilities of a traditional car. As an autonomous vehicle, it is capable of sensing its environment and navigating on its own...

  • Emergency road service
  • Euro NCAP
  • Experimental Safety Vehicle
    Experimental Safety Vehicle
    Experimental Safety Vehicle is the designation for experimental concept cars which are used to test car safety ideas.In 1970 the U.S. DOT announced its ESV project, the aim of which was to obtain safer vehicles by 1980. : A car produced by this effort was known as the Minicar RSV.In 1991, the ESV...

  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration , established January 1, 2000, regulates the trucking industry in the United States. FMCSA is headquartered in Washington, DC and employs more than 1,000 people in all 50 States and the District of Columbia...

     (FMCSA).
  • Global road safety for workers
    Global road safety for workers
    Global road safety for workers refers to the economic, societal, and legal ramifications of protecting workers from automobile-related injury, disability, and death. Road traffic crashes are a leading cause of occupational fatalities throughout the world, especially in developing countries...

  • Pedestrian Safety Through Vehicle Design
    Pedestrian safety through vehicle design
    Almost two-thirds of the 1.2 million people killed annually in road traffic crashes worldwide are pedestrians. Despite the magnitude of the problem, most attempts at reducing pedestrian deaths have focused solely on education and traffic regulation...

  • Risk compensation
    Risk compensation
    In ethology, risk compensation is an effect whereby individual people may tend to adjust their behavior in response to perceived changes in risk. It is seen as self-evident that individuals will tend to behave in a more cautious manner if their perception of risk or danger increases...

  • Safety car
    Safety car
    In motorsport, a safety car or pace car is a car which limits the speed of competing cars on a racetrack in the case of a caution period such as an obstruction on the track. During a caution period the safety car enters the track ahead of the leader...

  • Smart car
    Smart car
    Smart car may refer to:*Intelligent car, a car with artificial intelligence*Smart , the automobile brand...

  • Traffic psychology
    Traffic psychology
    Traffic psychology is a young, expanding and wide field in psychology. Whereas traffic psychology is primarily related to the study of the behavior of road users and the psychological processes underlying that behavior as well as to the relationship between behavior and accidents, transportation...

  • Traffic safety
  • Hazard symbol
    Hazard symbol
    Hazard symbols are recognizable symbols designed to warn about hazardous materials or locations. The use of hazard symbols is often regulated by law and directed by standards organizations...

  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
    Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
    The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a U.S. non-profit organization funded by auto insurers, established in 1959 and headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. It works to reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes, and the rate of injuries and amount of property damage in the crashes that...

  • Intelligent car
    Intelligent car
    Vehicle Automation involves the use of mechatronics and in particular, artificial intelligence to assist in the control of the vehicle, thereby relieving responsibilities from the driver or making a responsibility more manageable. These features and the vehicles employing them may be labeled as...

  • Lateral Support
    Lateral support
    Lateral support may mean:* Lateral support, a type of support to help prevent sideways movement* Lateral and subjacent support, a legal term...

  • Life Critical System
    Life-critical system
    A life-critical system or safety-critical system is a system whose failure ormalfunction may result in:* death or serious injury to people, or* loss or severe damage to equipment or* environmental harm....

  • Management systems for road safety
    Management systems for road safety
    -Paradigms:Progress in the area of prevention is formulated in an environment of beliefs, called paradigms as can be seen in the next table. Some of them can be refereed as professional folklore, i.e. a widely supported set of beliefs with no real basis...

  • Mobile phones and driving safety
    Mobile phones and driving safety
    Mobile phone use while driving is common, but dangerous. Due to the number of accidents that are related to cell phone use while driving, some jurisdictions have made the use of a cell phone while driving illegal. Others have enacted laws to ban handheld mobile phone use, but allow use of a...

  • Motorcycle Safety
    Motorcycle safety
    Motorcycle safety concerns many aspects of vehicle and equipment design as well as operator skill and training that are unique to motorcycle riding.-Accident rates:...

  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is an agency of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government, part of the Department of Transportation...

  • National Transportation Safety Board
    National Transportation Safety Board
    The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent U.S. government investigative agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation. In this role, the NTSB investigates and reports on aviation accidents and incidents, certain types of highway crashes, ship and marine...

  • Unsafe at Any Speed
    Unsafe at Any Speed
    Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile by Ralph Nader, published in 1965, is a book detailing resistance by car manufacturers to the introduction of safety features, like seat belts, and their general reluctance to spend money on improving safety...

  • Safety Engineer
    Safety engineer
    -Scope of a Safety Engineer:To perform their professional functions, safety engineering professionals must have education, training and experience in a common body of knowledge. They need to have a fundamental knowledge of physics, chemistry, biology, physiology, statistics, mathematics, computer...

  • Safety Engineering
    Safety engineering
    Safety engineering is an applied science strongly related to systems engineering / industrial engineering and the subset System Safety Engineering...

  • Vehicle inspection
    Vehicle inspection
    Vehicle inspection is a procedure mandated by national or subnational governments in many countries, in which a vehicle is inspected to ensure that it conforms to regulations governing safety, emissions, or both. Inspection can be required at various times, e.g., periodically or on transfer of...

  • Vehicle inspection in the United States
    Vehicle inspection in the United States
    In the United States, vehicle safety inspection and emissions inspection are governed by each state individually. 17 states have a periodic safety inspection program, while Maryland and Alabama require a safety inspection prior to registration or transfer of ownership only...

  • Vehicle recovery
    Vehicle recovery
    Vehicle recovery is the recovery of any vehicle to another place, generally speaking with a commercial vehicle known as a recovery vehicle, tow truck or spectacle lift....

  • Vehicle safety technology
    Vehicle safety technology
    Vehicle Safety Technology is a term used by the automotive industry applied to technologies focused on ensuring safety and security of automobiles and passengers...



Sources

  • IEEE Communications Magazine, April 2005, "Ad Hoc Peer-to-Peer Network Architecture for Vehicle Safety Communications"
  • IEEE Communications Magazine, April 2005, "The Application-Based Clustering Concept and Requirements for Intervehicle Networks" ISBN 978-92-4-156220-1
  • Physics Today, January 2006, "Vehicle Design and the Physics of Traffic Safety"

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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