New Reporting Guidelines for Car Crashes Prepare for Self-Driving Cars

The latest edition of the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria has a new section instructing how to report on the newly emerging autonomous automobiles.

Administrators from all sectors of the automotive and technology fields, as well as government officials, are actively preparing for the very-near future of self-driving cars. The Governors Highway Safety Association, along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), have just released the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria, which is the criteria by which law enforcement and other agencies report car accident data. The fifth edition is the first to include instructions on reporting crashes involving autonomous vehicles. It is updated every five years.

Many American drivers are not aware of how soon we will be seeing self-driving cars on our roads with regularity. More companies are announcing their intent to develop these cars every year. It is estimated the United States will have several thousand self-driving vehicles on the streets by 2020. The number goes up to 4.5 million by 2035.

The Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria gathered information such as the level of automation systems employed in each vehicle. Nineteen states have passed autonomous vehicle legislation and more are considering new guidelines. Four state governors issued executive orders to create councils and groups of working stockholders and public officials devoted to finding ways their states can successfully advance with the new vehicles.

Including the guidelines for reporting these incidents now, lets law enforcement know they need to prepare for the day they have to do it. Which will be very soon. Collecting the crash data on these vehicles is important. It shows manufacturers where to make adjustments and improvements but it also shows policymakers what new laws and regulations are needed concerning autonomous vehicles.

Officials at the Governors Highway Safety Association, along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) believe adding these new guidelines aids in developing an across the board, standard reporting of all car accident data. The roadways are rapidly changing. Traffic fatalities are rising each year at alarming rates. Competent data is essential to deciding how to change driver behavior and save lives on the road. All states are strongly advised to line up their own comprehensive, consistent crash records with those guidelines of the MMUCC. Strong data is the key to identifying national and regional accident and driving trends.

Many drivers falsely believe accident fatalities are on the rise because of less safe cars on the road. The fact is accidents have many other factors pertaining to gas prices, distracted driving, and the economy. Deaths from car accidents soared over 40,000 in 2016, researchers say. This was the first time since 2007 numbers breached 40,000, a 6% increase from 2015.

Studies have shown a strong correlation between a good economy and more fatal car accidents. People with more disposable income drive more often. Driving more means being on the road more and more chances to have an accident. Lower gas prices also attribute to more drivers on the road. The increase in hand-held and pocket-sized technology also attributes to fatalities when you factor in the increase in distracted driving.  

The safety of the vehicles on the road is getting better every year. It is the human driver who keeps developing new, unsafe practices behind the wheel.

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