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Google Car Director Tamps Down Safety Expectations
10/22/2013

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Traffic accidents in the United States in 2011 (Source: NHTSA)
Traffic accidents in the United States in 2011 (Source: NHTSA)

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Susan Rambo
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Seat belts
Susan Rambo   10/22/2013 8:59:39 AM
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Very interesting piece, Junko. I wonder what automotive seat belt systems engineers are working on: the car won't move until all the passengers where seat beats? Or the seatbelts automatically latch themselves?

MS243
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Fatality numbers
MS243   10/22/2013 10:40:18 AM
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It is amazing the # of Fatalities has dropped from over 55,000 to about 35,000 in the last 35 years.  Both my parents had injuries from driving or riding in cars with no seat belts(the standard at the time)

junko.yoshida
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Re: Seat belts
junko.yoshida   10/22/2013 10:54:04 AM
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That's a good question, Susan. It certainly floored me that so many people are still getting killed with no seat belts on!

junko.yoshida
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Re: Fatality numbers
junko.yoshida   10/22/2013 10:55:42 AM
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That is very true, MS243.

And yet, the Goole car safety czar made interesting points that those good safety measures -- including seat belts and child seats -- are still not 100 percent effective, in terms of saving lives.

prabhakar_deosthali
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CEO
Re:
prabhakar_deosthali   10/22/2013 12:51:33 PM
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In my opinion , what we need is automated safety in the cars and not just "good driving practices" manuals for all those ignorant drivers.

So, say for example - the car should not move until everybody has latched their seat belts.

and it would not allow the unlatching of the seat belt till the car has come back to a halt position.

Such simple minded safety interlocks will go a long way in saving lives than having driver-less cars .

Rather than having driver-less cars we need drivers with enforced discipline by the automated system to drive safe, be attentive to exception situations, not to keep texting while driving etc etc

elizabethsimon
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Re: Seat belts
elizabethsimon   10/22/2013 12:52:14 PM
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I've been in cars where the top of sholuder belt was attached to the door and in other cars where the top of the shoulder belt was on a track and autonatically moved forward when the door was opened and moved bak when the car was started.

This technology is at least 10 years old but I haven't seen that it's increasing in prevalence. Of course, that may be because I'm driving a 14 year old car...

 

Jerrysc
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Quite the opposite!
Jerrysc   10/22/2013 1:59:57 PM
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The less required of the driver, the more distracted they will be, and the less capable they will become should a problem arise. If seat belts are the only answer to the safety situation, then vehicle speeds will have to be limited to 7.5 MPH, as the human body is not designed to handle impacts at speeds greater than 15 MPH.

I know that planes and busses are safer than automobiles, but I still prefer my car for travel because I feel that I have at least some degree of control of the situation should a problem arise.

Caleb Kraft
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Re:
Caleb Kraft   10/22/2013 2:47:40 PM
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The idea of the car not starting till all belts are latched is quite nice. If it fails, no harm is done. The idea of it not letting you unlatch till you turn off the engine is scary though. If that fails, there's a possibility of someone being stuck in a car when they would need to get out.

rick merritt
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I'll do it myself, thanks
rick merritt   10/22/2013 2:49:06 PM
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Maybe this is a convenience like self-answering emails. Please, let me do it myself.

junko.yoshida
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why self-driving cars?
junko.yoshida   10/22/2013 3:12:09 PM
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Seat-belt discussions aside, I think the point the Google Car safety director is making here is that no safety measures could become a perfect solution for zero fatality. And that, by the way, includes self-driving cars.

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