West Virginia Volvo drivers may be pleased to learn that the company has announced that by 2020, no one will be killed or seriously injured in their cars. The automaker plans to use a combination of existing safety technology and technology being developed for driverless cars to achieve this.
In addition to improving restraint systems and airbags, Volvo will use technology that detects when a car is drifting into another lane. It already has radar that can detect how close another car is and can brake if necessary. Cameras can identify information on road signs such as hazard warnings and speed limits.
Cameras can also detect pedestrians or wildlife. The car can alert the driver, but it can also brake if the driver does not react quickly enough. By phasing in much of the technology that is used in self-driving cars, Volvo may also help to convince the public that driverless vehicles are safer.
Until self-driving technology is perfected, car accidents may continue to cause many deaths and serious injuries annually. Sometimes, people who are injured may have high medical expenses and miss a great deal of time from work while only being offered a small amount of money from the insurance company of the person responsible for the accident. When this occurs, it may be possible to file a lawsuit against the responsible driver even if there is not a criminal case. For example, a person might become distracted, drift into another lane and cause an accident. The police may not charge that person, but the person still might be a negligent driver. The burden of proof in a civil case is also lower than in a criminal case, so even if charges are filed against a driver and are then unsuccessful, a civil case might still be decided in the favor of the injured driver.