Cars today are safer than they have ever been. However, there are still tens of thousands of people killed in motor vehicle accidents every year. Millions more suffer serious injuries. One reason for this is that cars can only do so much of the work in keeping motorists safe; drivers must also prioritize safe driving.
As a result, automakers are currently working to develop new technology to prevent unsafe driving behavior from causing accidents. Recently, for instance, Volvo announced it would equip their vehicles with cameras in an effort to curb drunk and distracted driving.
How cameras could help
According to details on Volvo's announcement to add cameras to its vehicles, the cameras would monitor drivers for signs of impairment or distraction. This includes looking away from the road for lengthy periods of time, non-responsiveness and taking hands off the wheel.
When the cameras sense these and other signs that a driver is intoxicated or distracted, the vehicle will respond in one of a few ways.
- A Volvo representative will call the driver to check in.
- The car will automatically slow down.
- The car will stop and park.
By using in-car cameras, Volvo (and other automakers using or developing similar technology) hopes to prevent any and all accidents caused by their vehicles, even if a driver is unsafe.
What are the drawbacks?
Despite the potential benefits of such technology, there are many who have concerns about the use of cameras in personal vehicles. Among the most vocal critics are those who worry that it violates a motorist's privacy. However, Volvo maintains that the cameras do not record anything or gather any data.
Another important thing to remember about this technology is its limitations. Yes, the cameras could monitor certain behaviors. However, some drivers may not exhibit obvious signs of distraction or impairment. Further, not all vehicles will have such technology.
That said, despite the concerns and limitations of in-car camera technology, the fact is that distracted and drunk driving remain highly concerning behaviors that lead to preventable, catastrophic accidents. And investigating ways to prevent these crashes will be crucial to saving lives.