Vehicle rating system may rely on accident prevention – not just accident protection


Auto accident attorney in Del MarBy Michael Pines, Accident & Injury Prevention Expert

Car accidents in San Diego happen every single day. Whether it’s a fender-bender or a large scale collision, the truth is that our community is affected by crashes on a daily basis. Most people are cognizant of the fact that every time we head out on our roadways, we adopt an inherent risk when it comes to getting into a car accident.

In light of that reality, consumers want vehicles that are safe. As car manufacturers continue to develop safety features designed to protect us in the event of an accident, they may have to up the ante now that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering a new ratings system for crash avoidance – not just crash protection.

The idea is a good one – let’s stop the accidents before they happen rather than protect as they happen.

In an effort to proactively appeal to a growing, safety-minded consumer base, vehicle manufacturers are

In a notice last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asked the public to comment on possible changes to its ratings program. Among the possible additions: new ratings for crash-avoidance features, which automakers are quickly adding to vehicles to get an edge with safety-minded consumers.

Crash avoidance technology like automatic emergency braking, driver-assist cameras, and lane-keeping and parking assist are quickly making headway as the latest safety technology available to consumers today. Eventually, even low-end vehicles may offer these standards as government agencies and consumers demand safer vehicles.

“The technology that you need to predict a possible crash and take some steps against it is becoming more readily available,” said David Zuby, chief research officer at Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.


Here’s the truth. While crash avoidance technology is a significant advance for preventing car accidents, it certainly isn’t the end-all. Most of the time, accidents occur due to driver error, sometimes by mistakes, and other times from irresponsibility. When it comes to preventing an accident in San Diego:

Never drink and drive.

Don’t make the fatal mistake of getting behind the wheel under the influence of any kind of substance. Preplan ahead and make sure to designate a driver well ahead of time or buy your taxi ride prior to engaging in the festivities.

Wear your seatbelt.

It’s not only responsible, it’s the law. In California, you must wear your seatbelt at all times. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting to put it on, or assume a quick trip won’t result in an accident. Studies show that most accidents occur within a 10 mile radius from your home. Don’t risk it – buckle up!

Maintain your vehicle.

Car technology has nothing on a broken down vehicle on the side of the road. You are at a higher risk for car accidents when you are stalled on the side of the road, even if you pull over to the shoulder. The risk goes up exponentially if your vehicle has broken down in the driving lane. Always get regularly scheduled maintenance on your vehicle and if you purchase a used vehicle, it’s a good idea to get it fully inspected and fix any outstanding issues before you regularly drive the car.

Be distraction-free.

No doubt about it, the primary cause of car accidents in the United States is due to distraction of some kind. In 2011, 387,000 people sustained personal injury due to distracted driving. Distractions can take on any form but most commonly include texting and driving, talking on a cell phone, eating, drinking, radio, GPS and other in-cabin car technology.

For more information on car accident safety in San Diego, log onto

or find me on