New technology has been gradually introduced to help battle the pain of whiplash injuries in car accidents and also to deal with the high number of whiplash claims in their wake. A new set of technologies is being tested by Insurer funded research centre Thatcham and they believe that it is potentially so groundbreaking that it could save insurers millions of pounds every year by cutting down on whiplash claims.
The laser and radar devices in concern are being offered by manufacturers Volvo, Honda and Mercedes and works by preventing collisions by stopping cars getting too close to the vehicles in front.
In particular, Thatcham believe that Volvos windscreen mounted laser beam is likely to become the most effective as it performss best in low-speed incidents. Whiplash claims usually result from accidents in such conditions, like if a car hit the back of another car that hesitated on a roundabout or a traffic junction. Thatcham opine that 80% of accidents that cause claims are the result of low-speed crashes.
The laser beam works by tracking how close a car is to another in a fast paced town situation; it will brake by itself at the last possible second to stop any sort of accident. This breaking mechanism is not dependent on the driver, it is completely autonomous.
It is not just low speed crashes that are the subject of the new technology, but also high speed crashes. Covering that end of the market, both Hondas CMBS system and Distronic Plus program on Mercedes help to cut down accidents. Honda has also taken the step of tightened seat belts before an impending accident to notify the driver of a developing problem.
Of course such sophisticated carry a significant price tag but in the long run are likely to put insurers minds at ease and lead to greater savings. Currently the systems are retailing at the 2,000 mark but their cost is outweighed by the safety they provide and the fact that it will certainly win brownie details with car insurance providers.
Thatcham believe that if every car is equipped with one of the devices, there could be a 50% decrease in the current 250,000 whiplash injuries every season. Critics might argue that it will encourage careless driving but the failsafe emergency braking system would result in a scenario where you could be braking all the time because of a lack of care in your driving.
Other developments come courtesy of Toyota who recently declared that it had designed the worlds first rear-end collision detection system that warn drivers of an impending collision with the help of a radar device installed in the cars rear bumper. This radar senses if a vehicle is a approaching from behind. When the system detects a possible collision, sensors in the front headrests detect the position of the drivers and front passengers heads. The system then changes the headrests positions to avoid the risk of whiplash injury.