Car crashes happen in West Virginia for a wide variety of reasons, and one of those reasons is when a driver is having a medical emergency when behind the wheel. While this does not happen regularly, it does indeed happen, and there now appears to be technology that can help detect such an emergency.
First-generation emergency detection
The software designed to potentially reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents has actually been in use for years with respect to slowing a vehicle when the driver is not responsive for a certain amount of time. Typically set when the vehicle is in cruise control, the braking system gradually engages in some newer vehicle models when there is no activity generated from the driver for a specific amount of time. The software has now been upgraded to actually be capable of pulling the vehicle over when no driver activity is detected during the same time span.
Could also detect drowsiness
Serious medical emergencies such as heart attack, stroke or even respiratory distress are a rarity when a driver is behind the wheel. Most drivers will not get behind the wheel when they feel a medical issue may be developing. The real impact that the new software could have is reducing the number of accidents due to drowsiness, which includes approximately 10% of all car accidents.
This advancement is the type of positive safety research and technical application that highway safety advocates would enjoy seeing implemented in the near future. Truly autonomous self-driving vehicles could eventually be available as time goes on, but this is a good step in the right direction for improved highway safety.