New technology could reduce traffic fatalities

Nearly 100 lives could be saved during this US holiday season if all vehicles were equipped with automated crash-notification systems, which will soon be on more cars and trucks, according to the American Trauma Society (ATS).

The ATS said that more and more Americans are killed each year in motor vehicles during the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.

But the ATS also said an analysis indicated that as many as 86 people who died during each of the past four holiday seasons -- and about 838 U.S. residents a year -- could have been saved if their vehicles had been equipped with automated crash-notification systems.

"We've been advocating this for years," said Harry Teter, executive director of ATS, a nonprofit professional society of doctors, nurses and emergency response professionals.

"[Automated crash-notification] systems save lives and reduce injuries by providing faster and smarter emergency medical responses when crashes occur. The longer someone remains in a crash without help, the harder it is to save him. This is especially critical in rural areas, where people could be on the side of the road for hours before they are found."

Robert Herta, a spokesman for OnStar Corp., which makes the systems, said that using a combination of satellite and cellular technology, the current crash-notification systems pinpoint the location of a crash and alert an OnStar call center, which then alerts 911 emergency call centers when the air bags are deployed.

The system is currently available on tens of thousands of General Motors, Acura, Audi, Lexus, Mercedes, Subaru and Volvo vehicles in the US, he said.

But a new generation of the system will further reduce response times, instantly giving emergency personnel more information about the crash, Herta said.

Herta said the Advanced Automated Crash Notification (AACN) will detect not only air bag deployments but also rear and side crashes and rollovers. In addition, the new AACN system will provide vital information on crash dynamics, telling rescuers, for example, the severity of an accident and whether it was a head-on or side collision.

"The system is connected via the vehicle's radio," Herta said. "If someone is in a crash and is conscious, he will hear information coming over the radio. The system is also equipped with a microphone so that person can communicate with the call center adviser."

OnStar said General Motors plans to introduce AACN next year on some of its 2004 models.

The ATS findings are based on data from two previous NHTSA studies, the latest in 2001. Last year's research found that 35% to 38% of light-vehicle fatalities occur within 10 minutes of a crash, 43% to 46% within 30 minutes, and 56% to 61% within one hour.

The researchers concluded that the average notification time for vehicles equipped with automated crash-notification systems was less than one minute after the crash, while vehicles without such systems had an average notification of 5.6 minutes.

According to the NHTSA, the first 60 minutes of care after a multiple-trauma injury are crucial. Trauma experts often refer to this period as the "golden hour." Experts in the field have determined that during that hour, the likelihood of death increases 1% for every minute lost before emergency care arrives.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Linda Rosencrance

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?