Remember when the backup camera was a premium option found only in select models of cars? Invented in 1956 (yes, 1956!) the backup camera didn’t come standard until 2018.
Fast forward to today where vehicles are coming equipped with newer safety features such as lane departure warning systems, blind spot applications and adaptive cruise control. These features are often referred to as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and like the backup camera, are designed to protect drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.
Today, more than 90% of all vehicles sold come with some form of ADAS. As this type of new vehicle technology becomes standard, it is critical for drivers to use those features to the fullest potential – and it starts with understanding their proper functions and limitations.
“It’s crucial that Marylanders understand these technologies are there to assist them – along with the importance of practicing safe driving behaviors,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer, who also serves as Governor Larry Hogan’s Highway Safety Representative. “The use of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems can help us reduce crashes, with the ultimate goal of zero deaths on our roadways.”
With this in mind, Maryland is launching Connected & Automated Vehicle (CAV) Day on Oct. 8 in partnership with The Eastern Transportation Coalition (TETC), a regional partnership of agencies and organizations across 17 states and Washington, D.C.
The date was chosen because it’s the same date as the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge, a competition sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a research arm of the U.S. Department of Defense. The challenge was centered around the goal of accelerating the development of autonomous vehicle technologies.
If Marylanders need to check whether their vehicles are equipped with ADAS features, they should visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website.
“Consumer understanding is an important component to safer roads.” said Lisa Miller, TETC’s CAV Program Manager.
It is important to remind drivers that ADAS features do not make their vehicles self-driving – there are no fully self-driving vehicles for sale yet. Instead, these technologies are focused on improving the driving experience and collision avoidance. Some ADAS features that assist with the driving experience include adaptive cruise control, automatic parking and traffic sign recognition. Examples of collision avoidance include automatic emergency braking, lane departure warnings and blind spot detection.
ADAS technology has the potential to prevent roughly 40% of all crashes involving passenger vehicles.
In 2021, motor vehicle crashes in Maryland roadways resulted in 563 fatalities. Thousands more were injured. Most of the causes of these crashes can be attributed to human error – speeding, impaired and distracted driving and improper seat belt use remain the top contributing factors.
“The technology within your car today has the ability to keep you safer,” said Patricia Hendren, TETC’s Executive Director. “Please use (it).”
Agencies interested in spreading the message about CAV and participating in CAV day are encouraged to download MDOT MVA’s CAV toolkit for use on social media.