AutoForum - November / December 2018
Safety features - and your future in our industry - Lori Lorentz
Vehicle safety has come a long way thanks to better car design. In the years when people were driving the Ford Model T, it is estimated that as many as 15 fatal accidents occurred for every 100 million kilometres travelled. For the same travel distance these days, we have less than 0.7 fatal accidents. Better roads, driver education and alcohol
have a direct effect on our industry, either
European vehicles. These headlights offer
limitation while driving have helped reduce the
because of their high-tech nature, prohibitive
maximum light by masking off oncoming traffic.
number of fatal accidents but there is no doubt
cost to repair or that they simply make cars
It is possible to drive with high beam turned on
ever-improving safety features have played a
without dazzling vehicles travelling in the opposite
significant role in saving lives.
direction. Features like electronic stability control, adaptive
Over the years safety improvements have rarely
cruise control, lane departure alert and blind spot
The current E-Class Mercedes has a staggering
impacted our industry as these cars were mostly
warning, just to mention a few, were initially found
84 LED chips and it is expected that future cars
written off. Times have changed and in this
in top-of-the-range European cars, but within a
will have hundreds of these chips to maximise the
article I will introduce you to some of the new
few years they have become standard on most
light output. I would love to have this great feature
technologies affecting our industry.
on my car, but it is very expensive to replace, and special training is required for adjustment and
Some of the early safety inventions were safety
According to the German Federal Highway
glass, seat belts, collapsible steering columns,
Research Institute, 40 percent of fatal accidents
padded dashboards, crush zones, ABS braking
occur during night driving and it can be assumed
Ninety percent of accidents are caused by human
that poor light is a contributing factor.
error and this is where a lot of progress has been
In more recent times, safety features have
The multi-beam LED headlight is an emerging
become electronic in nature and most of them
technology that can be found on several top-end
made. Today there are several safety devices that
will even override the driver’s action.
To commemorate its 50th anniversary, America’s Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a crash test between a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air and a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu to demonstrate how car safety has improved.