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Haptic Technology Goes Mainstream for Driving Safety

March 19, 2015 | Accident & Injury

Haptic technology is a tool or material that buzzes, vibrates, pulsates or tingles to communicate information through people’s skin. Although this technology has been around for a long time (think about your phone vibration settings), it’s only recently emerging onto the mainstream automotive market as an additional warning device to existing safety systems.

Haptic Technology and Skin as an Underused Channel

Many car manufacturers have various safety systems such as lane departure warnings, back up cameras, and park assist. But these all rely on auditory and visual communication. “Our eyes and ears, the dominant modes for the digital world, are full to bursting. Devices bombard us with text alerts and audio bleeps. Your skin, on the other hand, is an “underused channel,” says Raymond Kiefer, a safety expert who helped design GM’s vibrating seats. “This is a way to cut through the visual and auditory clutter.”

There is much debate among safe driving advocates and the legal community regarding the level of safety features in cars verses distractions when driving. As with any new technology there are always pros and cons. We caught up with Paul Warnett, Personal Injury Lawyer of Warnett Hallen LLP, to get his take on the various safety alert systems used by high end car makers such as Cadillac, Audi, BMW and now by Chevrolet in the Silverado, Suburban and Tahoe.

Vibrating Seats can Reduce Car Accidents

“If a driver is hard of hearing, an audible beep does nothing to assist him or her. A vibrating seat, headrest or steering wheel can assist some drivers to avoid a possible collision. This is a welcome step to reduce the number of car accidents and collisions, reports Paul. “But on the flip side, a vibrating seat or any other safety feature only assists if a driver is alert enough to recognize and process the warning. For example, if a driver is not paying attention to a stopped car directly in front, then there’s a legitimate question as to whether they will pay any attention to their seat vibrating.

If you have been injured in a car accident in BC, we can help you Settle For More with ICBC. Call Paul or Manjot at 604-737-3300.

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