How this technology can help older drivers

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According to a new report, one-third of crashes that cause injuries to seniors while driving could be reduced with advanced technology at intersections.

The latest study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Safety potential of collision avoidance features, improved headlights and improved V2V technologies for older driversshows that technology allows older drivers to better navigate intersections safely.

“Left-turn assist and other upcoming intersection assist technologies could offer great safety benefits to drivers in their 70s and 80s,” said article author Aimee Cox. , a research associate at the IIHS.

With more drivers living longer and staying behind the wheel at older ages, the risk of collision is also increasing. According to the IIHS, drivers between the ages of 70 and 80 are at greater risk for certain types of crashes. They are also more prone to serious injury and death than younger people. He pointed out that age-related declines in vision and cognitive abilities make left-turn accidents more common.

The IIHS said its researchers used US federal crash data from 2016 to 2019 to compare the most common types of crashes for older drivers and their middle-aged peers. They then estimated the number of police-reported driver crashes, injuries and fatalities that could be solved by five existing features, plus two more that are not yet available – these depend on vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity. vehicle which allows vehicles to share information about their location, speed and intended path, which is not prevalent.

Common safety features are automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane departure prevention, brighter headlights, and blind spot detection.

“These findings should spur efforts to roll out these technologies to consumers as quickly as possible.”

Intersection assist features are newer and lesser known. These include Left Turn Assist, which uses a camera and other sensors to detect oncoming vehicles when the driver signals a left turn. Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) connectivity, still in development, would lead to similar and more sophisticated features, the IIHS noted.

For example, V2V would link every vehicle on the road. They could communicate positions, speed and path taken. Turning vehicles would know the speed and path of oncoming traffic, even if a hill or obstacle makes visibility difficult.

These features could bring significant gains, according to the IIHS. About three in five crashes involving both age groups could be addressed by at least one safety measure examined in the study.

For intersection assist features, the study found that they were potentially relevant for 32% of older driver crashes, 38% of older driver injuries, and 31% of older driver fatalities. The research also noted that these could have benefits for middle-aged drivers, as they were relevant to more than a fifth of all crashes for this age group.

“These findings should spur efforts to roll out these technologies to consumers as quickly as possible,” says Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president of research.

Alejandro L. Myatt