BUY LANEFX AND SAVE
More than 2,400 children are accidentally backed-up over each year in the U.S.
And of those, more than 100 die. With the proliferation of SUVs and mini-vans, drivers aren't aware of the enormous rear view blind spots that prevent
them from seeing what's behind them, especially small objects, animals, people, and children. Some of these blind spots are even greater than the length of an average driveway! Senators Hillary
Clinton (D-New York) and John Sununu (R-New Hampshire) have recently proposed legislation requiring the U.S. Department of Transportation to issue regulations aimed at reducing accidents that frequently
kill or injure children in cars. But until that legislation is passed, it's up to the driver to protect their loved-ones and prevent a tragedy by using a Park
Assist system or a backup
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated 2,767 people were treated in emergency rooms from July 2000 through June 2001 because of backovers. "This is a huge problem," Fennell
said. "A lot of [the problem] is due to the change in our vehicle mix" that has more people driving tall-profile vehicles, she said.
Indeed, Fennell's research indicates that "in 60 percent of the [backover] cases, it's a truck, van or SUV that's involved," Fennell said. The reduced rearward visibility is caused by
the design and tall profile of SUVs, pickup trucks and even vans.
The top edge of the tailgates and liftgates in these vehicles typically sits high and so do the vehicles themselves. This means that unaware children and small-stature adults and anything not
tall enough to be visible in the rear window glass might be run over as the vehicle is backing up.
Consumers can choose from a wider range of aftermarket vehicle-backup systems since our last report, including new and improved designs.
All such systems are intended to help drivers detect objects within the blind spot behind the vehicle.
New are camera systems such as the Audiovox and ParkFX we
tested that offer a “picture in the mirror” feature. The display is on a mirror that fits on top of or replaces the existing rear-view mirror, so you don’t have to choose between
looking at the display and at the rear-view mirror while backing up. ParkFX also combines a camera with an audible sensor, so you can see and hear
potential trouble. We would like to see more backup warning systems on the market that combine camera and sensor technologies.
Backup systems are typically marketed as parking aids, not safety equipment. But our tests show that the camera models can also help drivers avoid backover-accident injuries and fatalities.
Most Drivers Say They Don't Use Turn Signals
Maybe you've asked yourself: What is the big deal about a turn signal? Is it hard to find? Difficult to use? Why is it that 57 percent of drivers say they don't use one? Won't-use-a-signal drivers
are simply not motivated properly, according to a national survey by Response Insurance, a national car insurer.
- 23 percent say they're too lazy.
- 42 percent say they don't have enough time.
- 17 percent don't signal because they forget to turn the signals off after turning.
- 12 percent say they change lanes too often to bother.
- 11 percent say it's not important.
- 8 percent say they won't signal because other drivers don't.
- 7 percent actually say they forego the signal because it "adds excitement to driving."
(The total exceeds 100 percent because some drivers picked more than one reason.)
With LaneFX, drivers have experienced a 38% increase in consistent turn signal utilization compared with their driving habits prior to owning the system.
Are You Blind To Backup Danger?
Drivaware and Safe4Kids Tests Show Larger Vehicles Have Larger Blind Spots
If you have a sport utility vehicle, it is probably because they are big and you believe they're safer than other vehicles. But Drivaware
and Safe4Kids News has uncovered some information about a safety issue that affects virtually every vehicle on the road. When you back your vehicle up, you look in the rearview mirror, and
it is easy to see if an adult is in the way. But what if a small child is standing there? Statistics show that 28,000 children were taken to emergency rooms last year when they were run over
by a vehicle backing up. Before you get behind the wheel, you'd better know more about your vehicle's blind spot. Robin Giglio's
22-month-old son Hayden, somehow got behind the family SUV as they were backing away from his grandparents' house. "I relive the accident every day," Giglio said. "Hayden ran
behind the car and I couldn't see him at all and I hit him." Drivaware and Safe4Kids's Investigators went to a supermarket parking lot and placed orange cones the size of a small child
behind some vehicles that were backing out. The people in the vehicles checked their mirrors and took their time backing up, but they couldn't see the cone because of the blind spot. If it had
been a child, he or she could have been seriously injured, if not killed. With the help of John Long of AAA Mid-Atlantic, Drivaware and Safe4Kids set
up a blind spot demonstration with Alexis and Annemarie volunteering to be the drivers. Cones were placed directly behind different cars, vans, pickups and SUVs. In an older-model Toyota
Corolla, Alexis didn't spot the cone until it was moved 9.5 feet behind her. However, Annemarie spotted it sooner -- after 8 feet 3 inches. Why was there a difference with the exact same car?
Annemarie is 8 inches taller than Alexis. The shorter you are, the harder it is to spot things when you back up. In the demonstration, Drivaware and Safe4Kids discovered that the bigger the vehicle,
the bigger the blind spot. With a Jeep Grand Cherokee, the blind spot was over 20 feet 5 inches. The Ford Windstar's blind spot was about 25 feet and the Land Rover had a 36-foot blind spot.
Drivaware and Safe4Kids found out it was even worse when the blind spot was directly behind the spare tire and the middle seat headrest. Alexis couldn't see the cone for over 182 feet -- that's over
half the length of a football field. You can reduce your blind spot, Long said. "In the third seat of a passenger van, put it down in the resting position and it will give you somewhat
greater visibility as you look over your shoulder," Long said. Many vehicles have sensors that beep when something is close. You can also reduce your blind spot by raising your power seat
to let you see at a greater angle. If you don't have a power seat make sure you turn around and lift yourself up as much as possible -- that always reduced the blind spot in tests by AAA Mid-Atlantic.
You should also always make sure you look behind the vehicle before getting in and hit the horn briefly to warn anybody who might be in
your blind spot.
Basic Auto Safety Facts
Plus the Economic Benefits of the LaneFX Blind Spot Exposure System
- According to the US government's Department of Transportation, 1 out of 25 collisions on America's highways is due to improper
lane change / lane merge. That's 630,000 accidents annually and almost 2% of which are fatal. The estimated annual insurance cost of these collisions $2.3B not accounting for economic
loss. There are no specific statistics on whether these numbers improve by use of conventional convex blind spot mirrors or even
by the driver setting the side mirrors wide.
- Second, consider the driver awareness benefit. By eliminating the average of 2 seconds of a complete head turn / blind spot check, LaneFX can afford you over 205ft of advance emergency
stopping/maneuvering distance. This could be a life-saving or accident avoidance distance.
- Thirdly, let's approach this from a competitive landscape: The blind spot detection segment has just recently begun heating up
at the OEM and teir-1supplier level. University of Michigan's Center for Automotive Research (CAR) study of emerging technologies, automotive
executives from around the world have predestined a 10% market penetration of blind spot detection systems by MY06. So far this figure has been lagging a bit, but there is evidence of momentum
building up in this area. Volvo has recently announced their blind spot detection system called BLIS and Audi has launch its Lane Assists
passive system on its brand new Q7 SUV. As matter of fact, Volvo's VP of marketing in the BLIS systems' media preview indicated that that "blind
spot problem solution is the number of asked for feature by Volvo owners." Volvo in this detection system chose to use pattern/image recognition technology as their chosen horse for
this race. Raytheon and Valeo-Sylvania, two heavy hitters in the teir-1 supplier arena have joined forces to develop a sonar-based detection system under contract with one auto OEM. In both instances
Volvo and other system are passive detection systems. Here's what's public from Volvo's own press release: "Because the system is camera based, it not work in the rain, snow, fog, or at
night." When Automotive Week and Auto Blog test drove the BLIS system,
they encountered a disproportionate number of false positives when driving by a row of parked cars or in the left-most lane on the highway against a concrete divider wall." K.
Malhas, inventor of LaneFX expressed his opinion on this design approach as follows: "It's difficult for to understand why the one automotive manufacturer that has coined its existence
on occupant safety would release a system that does not appear to have been well-though out." But it actually gets worse from there, estimated price for the system is $1,200 that's
over 800% the suggested retail price of a complete LaneFX package and, according to Volvo if the its alert mechanism - a small orange light
on the inside of the A-pillar - becomes "too annoying" to the driver, the driver has a switch to turn it off! Unbelievable!
Key Strategies for Total Driver On-Road Awareness
Defensive Driving is the Number One Key to Safe Driving Habits
If you've been out on the roads, you know that not everyone drives well. Some people speed aggressively. Others wander into another
lane because they aren't paying attention. Drivers may follow too closely, make sudden turns without signaling, or weave in and out of traffic.
Aggressive drivers are known road hazards, causing one third of all traffic crashes. But inattentive driving is becoming more of a problem as people "multi-task" by talking on the
phone, eating, or even watching TV as they drive. We can't control the actions of other drivers. But learning defensive driving skills can help us avoid the dangers caused by other people's bad
Skills That Put You in Control
Before you get behind the wheel of all that glass and steel, here are some tips to help you stay in control:
Stay focused. There are a lot of things to think about when driving: road conditions, your speed, observing traffic laws and signals, following directions, being aware of the
cars around you, checking your mirrors - the list goes on. Staying focused on driving - and only driving - is key.
Distractions, like talking on the phone or eating, make a driver less able to see potential problems. It's not just teen drivers who are at fault: People who have been driving for a while can
get overconfident in their driving knowledge and let their driving skills get sloppy. All drivers need to remind themselves to stay focused.
Stay alert. Being alert (not sleepy or under the influence) allows you to react quickly to potential
problems - like when the driver in the car ahead slams on the brakes at the last minute. Obviously, alcohol or drugs (including prescription and over-the-counter drugs) affect a driver's reaction
time and judgment. Driving while tired has the same effect and is one of the leading causes of accidents. So rest up before your road trip.
Watch out for the other guy. Part of staying in control is being aware of the drivers around you and what they may suddenly do so you're less likely to be caught off guard. For
example, if a car speeds past you on the highway but there's not much space between the car and a slow-moving truck in the same lane, it's a pretty sure bet the driver will try to pull into your
lane directly in front of you. Anticipating what another driver may do prepares you to react.
Seven Secrets to Total Driving Awareness
When you drive defensively, you're taking control of the situation and keeping your eyes open for aggressive or inattentive drivers who might cause an accident. Here are seven easy things you
- Think safety first. Avoiding aggressive and inattentive driving tendencies yourself will put you in a stronger position to deal with other people's bad driving. Leave plenty
of space between you and the car in front. Always lock your doors and wear your seatbelt to protect you from being thrown from the car in a crash.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Check your mirrors frequently and scan conditions far ahead of you. If a vehicle is showing signs of aggressive driving, slow down or pull over
to avoid it. If the driver is driving so dangerously that you're worried, try to get off the road or highway by turning right or taking the next exit if it's safe to do so.
- Assume the worst. Assume that drivers will run through red lights or stop signs and be prepared to react. While driving, imagine that other drivers (especially truck drivers)
don't see you when you are making your way into their path. Also, keep an eye on pedestrians and pets along the road.
- Stay cool, calm, and collected. It's best to avoid making eye contact with aggressive drivers. As hard as it can be, ignore any aggressive facial or hand gestures. And don't
race aggressive drivers - you run the risk of inciting their road rage. Other drivers do stupid things. The best drivers don't get mad or try to get even.
- Get the authorities involved. If you see an aggressive driver or trouble ahead, get to a safe place to pull over and call authorities or the police. Any information you can
provide - a description of the vehicle, its license plate number, the direction it's going - will be helpful. Some areas allow you to use your cell phone to call the appropriate authorities with
special numbers like #77. If an aggressive driver crashes or causes an accident, try to stop safely a good distance from the scene. Wait for the police to arrive so that you can tell them about
the aggressive behavior you witnessed.
- Don't drive if you are under the influence or very sleepy. Alcohol, illegal drugs, and some prescription medications affect a person's judgment, including the ability to make
important braking and steering decisions on the road. That means you'll be less able to react quickly and drive defensively. Sleepy drivers can be just as bad as intoxicated drivers, so make
frequent rest stops or let a friend drive if you're tired.
- Don't take risks. When in doubt, don't pass. And keep a safe following distance. That way you can avoid a collision, stay in your lane, and not get rear-ended if the driver
in front of you slams on the brakes.
If you're interested in taking a full defensive driving course, contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles. All states keep a list of defensive driving courses that are approved by the
state - even some that are online. They cost money, but some insurance companies give people who've taken the course a discount in insurance rates.
Happy (defensive) driving!
Moms Put ParkFX to the Test
There are no government statistics, but some estimate the family car killed as many as 500 children across the country last year. And the accidents happened in their own driveways.
While some may wonder what kind of parent could do that, Rachel Clemens said it could happen to just about anyone.
Two years ago, her daughter Adrianna wandered out of her Garland home.
That’s when Adrianna's father accidentally backed over the child with his SUV.
"He didn't see her," Clemens said. "That was the last day I saw my daughter alive."
So, how could you not see a child behind the family car?
Three Dallas moms agreed to take a safety test with the understanding that they would not know exactly what the tests were about.
While they were distracted filling out a questionnaire, Drivaware and Safe4Kids placed an orange cone about 8-feet behind their vehicles and the drivers were then asked to back up.
All three plowed right over the cone.
"Did I just run over something?" Adrienne Ludlow as said as she backed up.
"Oh, I hit the cone," said Amy Gordon.
"I figured it was a branch or something," said Merideth Manning.
Drivaware and Safe4Kids measured the blind spot behind each of their vehicles. The Honda Pilot had a blind spot over 30 feet, an Infiniti G35 about 18 feet and a Chevy Tahoe more than 35 feet.
The eye-opening experiment had all three women interested in the same thing, which was looking into safety equipment like ParkFX or a rear sensor that beeps faster the closer a driver gets to an object.
Safety cameras mounted on the rear of car are also available. The cameras relay a picture of the blind spot to a screen on the dashboard.
Both technologies are available on new cars with after-market installation costs less than $500.
"I would absolutely buy it, but wouldn't think of it until you came over and showed me how dangerous this could possibly be," Gordon said.
Attorney Windle Turley represents the Clemens family, which sued Nissan, the maker of the family's SUV. They claim the technology should have been standard equipment. The case is still pending.
"Manufacturers take off this needed safety equipment so they can market their vehicle a little bit lower in price than their competitors; and that's really wrong,” Turley said.
The trade group representing automakers says, "the best defense against back-over accidents is to check around the vehicle before you back up."
"That does not work and you're sending the wrong signal,” Clemens said.
Clemens, and several lawmakers in Washington, support legislation that would require automakers to put back-over safety equipment on all new cars.
Experts say it would add up to $200 to the price.
"To me, I think to anybody, any parent, the cost is nothing compared to a child's life," Clemens said.
There are no official numbers, but one safety group estimates that in Texas more than 90 children have been killed in or around parked vehicles in the last 15 years.