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.