The Current Scenario
No country can exist without transportation via roads. The development and growth of all nations are invariably connected with their roads. Despite the intrinsic nature of these improved surfaces for the purposes of conveyance of traffic, it carries with them one of the cruelest things to have ever befallen society – Road Accidents.
WHO estimates that 1.3 billion people succumb to their deaths owing to road accidents, every year. In such a deteriorating scenario, road mishaps have accounted for 1.5 lakh fatalities in India in 2021 alone. The current environment warrants the need to conjure innovative solutions to tackle this menace.
With time, the world has become more fast-paced, incorporating in itself new technologies. Technology has also paved the way for safer drives and safer roads by curbing road accidents and improving transportation. Technology has time and again proved its potential to mitigate the issues concerning road safety. Let us understand a few ways in which technological infrastructures have reduced road accidents.
The automobile industry is also growing in leaps and bounds. witnessing a significant rise in technology penetration resulting in the introduction of newer features,
One of the finest cutting-edge technology that is believed to have contributed to reducing road accidents is the Automated Emergency Braking System. AEB, which has been designed to prevent imminent vehicle collisions by sensing stopped traffic, enables the rapid application of brakes, even if the driver is unable to respond promptly. Another feature that aids in averting potential accidents while changing lanes is the Blind Spot Warning which signals the driver if there is a vehicle in their blind spot. There are various versions available of this sensor and the most common type is signaling via symbols or sounds.
Adaptive headlights are the next technology that has made remarkable progress in furthering road safety. Unpaved roads, dark nights, etc. drastically increase the possibility of an accident. However, with Adaptive Headlights, drives become safer, especially during night time as the headlights move according to the movement of the steering wheel and thereby, adapt to the driving environment. Other such novel technologies integrated into the mechanics of the vehicles include lane departure warning, forward collision system, and curve speed warnings among others.
Cameras in collaboration with technologies have offered much-needed visibility into various aspects that help in mitigating road accidents.
At an individual level, vehicles equipped with camera sensors function as drowsiness detectors, wherein the camera is monitoring the drivers’ eyelids and tracks their head movements to gauge if they are tired or drowsy. Tiredness or drowsiness of drivers leads to distracted driving which is a major cause of road accidents. This camera set-up will enable the drivers to rectify their situation by sending them alerts or warnings.
Cameras can also be used in another capacity when they are installed along the roads. Here, the cameras are used to monitor the roads by being vigilant about speeding. Overspeeding poses a grave threat to the lives of drivers and pedestrians alike and these cameras are able to capture data as to when a car crosses the designated speed limit. This permits the concerned authorities to take stricter measures against the offenders and allows them to foster a better environment regarding adherence to speed laws. Although not that common, cameras are also used with traffic lights by countries like the U.K. to identify a larger number of pedestrians waiting to cross the road and lengthen the period the ‘walk’ symbol is on. This helps in mainly controlling collisions with pedestrians.
Enhanced Emergency Services
A leading cause of road fatalities is delayed medical care and technologies have now been designed to solve this issue. It ensures that proper medical treatment reaches the concerned victims with minimal loss of time. Vehicles are now equipped with different features to help this cause. Some vehicles can send instant messages to different parties in the event of an unfortunate incident. While others have the ability to send a list of potential injuries to ensure correct treatment accordingly. Such a system helps in reducing the time required for emergency health care to reach the place of the accident, especially on roads and lanes with lesser traffic. Companies are continuously striving to design technologies that provide rapid assistance in the delivery of medical care and reduce the time required in post-accident response.
Monitoring Driving Behaviour
The human error takes the position of the highest contributor to road accidents. Mistakes on their part led to the drastic loss of lives of many. This issue usually stems from the unsafe driving practices people are often engaged in. Drivers recklessly indulge in habits that are counterproductive to their safety. They make themselves and others on the road vulnerable to road accidents. Technology has developed so that something as simple as a mobile can now track behaviors of drivers that are risky and may lead to accidents.
Such technology will alert the drivers of their rash driving, highlighting mark-ups of unsafe driving such as overspeeding or phone usage. These insights will help people understand their own driving and encourage them to improve their performance. Such technologies change the unsafe behavior of drivers, thus eliminating one of the root causes of road accidents. Some companies have also rolled out Driving Safety Solutions to ensure the safety of field employees in particular who are rendered more vulnerable to road accidents due to their nature of work.
Message boards are often used at various intersections along the roads. It is used to display important information that pedestrians and drivers need to know. These messages pertain to anything related to road safety such as reminders to wear seatbelts/helmets, maintain the speed limit, etc. Now, the boards have evolved to include real-time data like traffic status, upcoming congestion, or ongoing roadwork. This feature is helpful to drivers.
These message boards are controlled remotely and can be coupled with cameras for better control over the traffic. The cameras will have the ability to tilt, zoom, or pan, providing the operators with a better view. Remote video monitoring will facilitate better road safety measures.
Smart road infrastructure is now a reality due to the prevalence of technology. With IoT sensors, connected traffic lights, etc. cities can enjoy improved roadways. Technology makes it possible for the concerned authorities to collect and analyze day-to-day data. It therefore essentially creates an environment of effective traffic management. The same can also be used to gather real-time road accident data and study its causes. Smart roads also contribute to fulfilling sustainable development goals.
The Road Ahead
The future of technology and the mobility industry is still undergoing a lot of developments to introduce new technologies such as connected cars. They are working towards reducing road accidents as much as possible and aim to make road safety accessible to all. The current situation calls for a dire need for solutions to help save lives. This landscape of technology and road safety will grow phenomenally with further research. By leveraging the power of technology to reduce road accidents, the coming days seem a little brighter. Continued efforts will ensure that families don’t lose their dear ones and the economy doesn’t incur a severe financial loss.
The article was originally published on ReadWrite.