Are “Smart Cars” Safe Cars?

Automakers and their tech teams have ensured that the automobile industry has remained up to date with evolving technology. While some features have indisputably made our cars safer and more efficient, some are questioning if some of the new features are actually creating danger on the roads.

  • Key Fobs:  Many new vehicles now come equip with a key fob, which works with a push to start ignition. The most prevalent danger associated with this new technology is carbon monoxide poisoning, which can cause injury or death.  Some cars that use key fob technology allow drivers to walk away from their vehicles, key fob in hand, with the car still running. A car left running in a garage or enclosed space could be deadly due to carbon monoxide poisoning.  There is also a risk that the car could roll, causing a rollaway crash. 
  • Push Button Starters: Ford made news in 2014 when it recalled nearly 15,000 vehicles because of a design issue rather than a mechanical defect. The placement of the push to start button was decidedly too close to other controls, leaving drivers at risk of inadvertently hitting the button- in doing so abruptly turning off the car and rendering airbags inoperable.
  • Hackers: Scary but true: in multiple experiments tech savvy individuals have broken into cars, opening doors, adjusting the heat and radio, and even turning the car off. The experiments were conducted on Jeep Cherokee’s, a brand owned by Fiat Chrysler. According to the company they’ve resolved the issue, yet the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and members of Congress have expressed an increasing concerned about the security of vehicle control systems.  
  • Distraction: Completely computerized dash boards, touch screens, hundred of choices of radio stations, navigation, the features are endless. While it’s not yet illegal to change radio stations or use other computerized feature in your vehicle while driving it is still tremendously dangerous. 

The advent of new technology in automobiles has changed the way our roads work and the way drivers think. Many new cars will alert you if you’re too close to an object by beeping. Backup cameras make reversing easier than ever. Jaguar is even developing “Bike Sense Technology,” which will help notify drivers of cyclists nearby. 

These innovative features and others have the potential to reduce the number of pedestrian and motorist fatalities. Yet as new features continue to emerge, some are left wondering, do we really know the risks? While the benefit to some features is clear, are there hidden dangers in other features?

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of defective automobile technology, contact us today.

Dear friends and clients,

In furtherance of our firms culture of commitment to always act with compassion, concern and commitment to our clients, community and colleagues, we have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligations while prioritizing health, wellness and safety of all we can. 

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced changes to many lives and businesses in our communities, and around the world. We, much like our neighbors and friends, have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligation to our clients, while also prioritizing the health, wellness and safety of our employees.

Until further notice, our offices will be closed to the public to encourage social distancing and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our team is still hard at work, many from home, and you may still call, email, live chat or video conference us if you or a loved one is seeking legal assistance. As the first law firm to offer our clients secure online access to their case file more than a decade ago, we have always been believers in using technology to make life easier and information more accessible. In these present times it has been a smooth transition for us to continue to offer our clients the same seamless and thorough service that you deserve and are accustomed to.

This pandemic is unlike anything any of us have faced in our lifetimes, and while we can continue to emotionally support one another through it all, staying home and keeping your distance is vital to the health and wellness of our communities. It does not feel good to break routines, cancel events and retreat from our normal, day-to-day socializing, but let us remember that, in times of strife, prior generations were asked to go to war and we are simply being asked to stay home. Your isolation equals more lives saved, and more time for medical providers to prepare for the treatment of patients battling COVID-19.

When the dust settles, we will join together with a greater appreciation for our lives, local businesses, loved ones and health. Until then, we will continue to offer guidance from a safe distance.

Very truly yours,

Andrew G. Finkelstein and the staff of Jacoby & Meyers, LLP