Washington residents likely think of safety when they see a Volvo car or SUV on the road, and the Swedish automaker has worked for decades to forge a reputation for durability and crashworthiness. Volvo pioneered safety features including side impact protection systems and three-point safety belts that save thousands of lives on the nation's roads each year, and the company hopes that technology currently in development or already available will eliminate fatalities in its cars and SUVs by 2020.
According to Volvo, eliminating human error provides the greatest opportunity to reduce the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents in the United States, and it hopes to achieve this goal with autonomous vehicle technology and self-driving cars. However, the Swedish company also believes that deaths in its cars driven by human beings can be all but eliminated in the coming years by advanced accident prevention systems.
These electronic systems use sensors and radar to keep track of a vehicle's position on the road as well as driving conditions and the movement of nearby traffic. When they determine that a situation is becoming hazardous or a collision is likely, the vehicle's electronic braking, stability and traction control systems are employed to safely avoid a crash. This kind of automotive technology is particularly effective at preventing the kind of high-speed accidents caused by fatigued or distracted drivers.
While the development of innovative auto safety features is good news for road users, it comes too late for the families of those killed in accidents caused by reckless drivers. These families often encounter great financial hardship when a breadwinner's paycheck is no longer coming in, and unexpected medical bills and funeral costs often make their situations even more precarious. Wrongful death lawsuits filed on their behalf by personal injury attorneys may seek compensation for their lost income as well as their loss of consortium and companionship.