Personal Injury Lawyers

D.C. Traffic Watch: Can Collision Warning Systems Save Lives?

Drivers continue to operate their vehicles when they are distracted, despite numerous warnings alerting them to the dangers of cell phones and other devices that steal focus from the road. Many carmakers are responding to this dangerous trend by including collision warning systems in their vehicles. While these warning systems could perhaps help prevent some accidents, not all systems are created equal. Further, drivers should not become comfortable with the idea that their car will stop for them.

No amount of technology can substitute for common sense and safe driving. When a driver makes a dangerous choice and endangers other motorists on the road, he must be held accountable for the harm caused. Accident lawyers in Washington, DC at the Mike Slocumb Law Firm should be consulted by victims of collisions for help pursuing a damage claim.

Collision Warning Systems And Accident Prevention

According to the New York Daily News, a forward collision warning system uses radar beams, cameras, and/or laser beams to scan the road ahead of the vehicle. If the system believes that the vehicle is coming too close to an object at an unsafe speed, it can alert the driver and it will either ready the braking system for full power or it will automatically cause the vehicle to brake.

Most systems will automatically apply the brake to slow a vehicle or to stop it from colliding with an object in front, while a minority of systems only warn the drivers. It is also more common for the car to first warn the driver and then apply the brakes, although some systems will stop the car without first alerting the driver that there is an obstacle.

Forward collision warning systems usually work when the car is traveling at a speed of 30 miles per hour or less, although some newer systems will even activate the braking system when the car is going as fast as 50 miles per hour. If the vehicle is going above this speed, generally only a warning will be issued as the car slamming on the brakes would be extremely dangerous.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is currently trying to respond to consumer confusion caused by so many different technologies in collision avoidance. The IISH rates systems as basic, advanced or superior and is establishing a classification system that will help consumers better understand how the different collision avoidance systems work.

An IISH spokesperson has said that it is clear the technology is helping to avoid crashes and is helping to reduce speed and thus lessen the severity of collisions where an accident cannot be avoided.

However, there is a danger that drivers may become too reliant on this technology and that it may make some motorists feel safer driving while distracted. Collision avoidance systems may malfunction if sun, rain, snow or fog prevents the devices from seeing in front of the vehicle. Further, not all systems can detect pedestrians and cyclists, of which there are many in the Washington D.C. area. Even with collision avoidance systems in place, drivers need to remain vigilant and ensure they act responsibly to say safe on the roads.

Accident lawyers in Washington, D.C. can help if you have been injured. Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE or visit