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AutoForum - November / December 2018

BODYSHOP NEWS

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

“un-crashable”.

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.

“econoboxes”.

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

and airbags.

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

calibration.

made. Today there are several safety devices that

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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.

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