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John Bisnar
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Advanced Vehicle Safety Systems Becoming Available

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Stereo Systems Are Standard Features, Why Aren’t Safety Features Standard?

An interesting article by Ken Thomas of the Associated Press talks about the different things automakers are trying to make vehicles safer for drivers, passengers and pedestrians. According to a telephone poll cited in the article:

Safety remains a competitive issue for manufacturers and a major selling point at dealerships. A recent poll conducted by AP-AOL Autos found that 21 percent of consumers wanted side air bags as an option, the most popular choice, followed by 20 percent seeking antilock brakes.

At the Detroit Auto Show which is now going on, Volvo introduced an XC60 crossover concept with a radar system that monitors vehicles about 20 feet in front of the car. This system reportedly helps the driver avoid a crash by automatically activating the car’s brakes. According to the article, Volvo is expected to introduce this technology in vehicles two years from now and company officials believe upgrades could help reduce whiplash injuries.

According to Thomas’ article, “DaimlerChrysler AG’s Mercedes-Benz division offers advanced safety features on its ultra luxury vehicles, the S-Class. One uses long-range and short-range radar to avoid crashes by automatically hitting the brakes if the driver fails to stop in time. Another feature, called Night View Assist, uses infrared beams to detect roadway obstructions far beyond the headlights’ reach and transmits an image on the instrument panel.”

These “new pre-crash safety technologies are emerging that target the crucial milliseconds before a crash or help drivers avoid the crashes in the first place,” according to the Associated Press news report

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Maybe American automobile makes are getting the message that we care about vehicle safety.

There are more traffic fatalities in California each year than all the American lifes lost in Iraq since the war began. We, as the motoring public, want the technologies available today to be used to make our world and especially automobiles safer. The guided missle systems and smart bombs technologies of today, that we use to destroy, need to be employed to save lives and prevent injuries.

Unfortuantely, the American automakers are still of the mind set to make safety features optional rather than standard, when they are available. Stereo systems are standard equipment, why aren’t side air bags and anti-lock brakes? This type of “safety as an option” is an inceditious type of class discrimination, in my opinion. Why is it that the foreign auto makers are always leading the way in auto safety?