Safety Technology for Avoiding and Mitigating Maryland Car Accidents
Knowing the disturbing statistics on car accidents in Maryland, most motorists put the latest auto safety technology high on the list when shopping for a new vehicle. According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), there are around 530 fatalities and almost 50,000 victims injured in auto crashes every year.
The problem hits close to home in Baltimore County, where around 18% of all traffic collisions in the state take place. Of the 21,000 car accidents in the county, almost one-quarter cause a death or injuries to at least one victim. Taking advantage of recent advancements and innovations in safety technology is obviously a wise strategy for peace of mind.
However, it can be overwhelming to sort out your options among what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) refers to as “Driver Assistance Technologies.” One way to gain some perspective is by separating the best technology into two categories based upon how they promote safety. Some features are intended to prevent accidents, while others aim to mitigate the potential for serious injuries.
Vehicle Accident Avoidance Technology
The NHTSA points out that more than 36,000 people are killed in traffic crashes every year, and most of these are linked to human error. Some automobile safety features work to eliminate or reduce human error. Examples include:
- Lane Departure Warning: This system uses a series of sensors to assess lane markings, so it sounds an alert when a motorist is drifting.
- Forward Collision Warning: This technology monitors your vehicle speed, as compared to the one in front of you and the distance between the two. If you get too close to the auto, the system will issue an alert of a potential collision. Unlike auto braking, forward collision warning does NOT take action to avoid an accident.
- Auto Emergency Braking: NHTSA views this feature as one of the most crucial to accident prevention and the next wave before reaching full automation. AEB technology also uses sensors and cameras to identify risks, and it will slow the vehicle or apply the brakes when necessary to avoid a crash.
Technology for Mitigating the Effects of an Auto Crash
Accident avoidance is not a perfect technology. Even with accident avoidance or mitigation technology in effect, you can still be at risk of a serious injury if another driver does not exercise proper care. As such, the use of a seatbelt remains one of the most effective technology implements to prevent serious injury in a motor vehicle accident. Buckling up saves almost 15,000 lives every year according to NHTSA data.
Additional accident mitigation features now typically include:
- Airbags and padding, which absorb the energy of a violent impact;
- Reinforcements in the frame, chassis, and doors of vehicles;
- Crumple zones where portions of the vehicle are designed to collapse on impact in order to absorb a significant portion of an impact force;
- Rollover prevention structures that prevent the roof and cabin from collapsing;
- OnStar and other in-vehicle emergency communications systems, which generate a phone call to first responders when they sense a collision; and,
- Child car seats and boosters that protect young occupants.
How Safety Equipment Protects Occupants in Various Types of Accidents
The technology mentioned above is most effective in preventing or mitigating moderate and minor crashes. Overall, its success varies depending on numerous factors, including weather, traffic, road conditions, the abilities of the driver, and many others. However, the NHTSA reports that advanced vehicle safety technologies are promising for the following types of car accidents:
- Rear-end collisions;
- Sideswipes and side-impact crashes;
- Rollovers; and,
- Occupant ejections.
Some forms of vehicle safety technology will also help alleviate distracted driving accidents, one of the biggest issues on US roadways. The warning systems alert a driver who is texting, talking on the phone, listening to music, or otherwise not paying attention to the road.
Seeking Monetary Damages After a Maryland Auto Collision
The presence or lack of safety technology will likely not impact your rights if you were hurt in a car accident. Maryland law allows you to pursue a negligent driver for two types of compensation:
- Economic Damages: This category includes your definite losses and out-of-pocket costs, such as medical expenses and lost wages if you were not able to work.
- Noneconomic Damages: You may not be able to put a dollar value on how car accident injuries affect your life, but you most certainly sustain losses. Noneconomic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, and related ramifications – as well as diminished quality of life.
However, there may be legal restrictions under Maryland law that could affect your compensation. For one, the state has a statute of limitations that acts as a deadline in all personal injury cases. You have three years to file a lawsuit in court, and the clock starts ticking on the date of the crash. If you do not initiate civil litigation by the expiration date, you are prohibited from recovering compensation.
In addition, note that:
- Maryland follows the rule of pure contributory negligence, which puts the focus on your conduct in an auto collision. If you were at fault, even slightly, you are barred from obtaining any monetary damages.
- There is a statutory cap on noneconomic damages in Maryland, and the limit is $890,000 for 2021. Note that it only applies to the second type of compensation mentioned above.
Our Maryland Car Accident Attorneys are Prepared to Fight for Your Rights
This summary of auto safety tech is useful if you are car shopping, but no amount of innovation can yet prevent all collisions or injuries. To learn about your legal remedies for recovering compensation, please contact our office to set up a no-cost case evaluation.