Using Advanced Driver Assistance Systems to eliminate traffic deaths

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- 2016 has not been a good year on our nation’s highways. It’s the deadliest in a decade. There have been 19,000 fatalities in just the first half of year.

SUV emitting electronic waves (MGN)

“We are focused on eliminating traffic fatalities in the next 30 years," Deborah Hersman of the National Safety Council told a room full of experts in Washington Thursday.

They say it’s a moonshot, but not impossible. They believe Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are a solution.

Some technologies like anti-lock brakes have been around for a while. Newer ones like front and rear collision prevention are becoming more common.

“The next generation of technologies is really exciting. This is really the first time we can prevent crashes and reduce the severity," said Dan McGehee of the University of Iowa.

McGehee helps educate drivers in 40 different technologies by taking them on test drives and promoting an online resource -- mycardoeswhat.org.

“40% of drivers found their cars did something very unexpected and these technologies are still mysterious to them," McGehee explained.

“The key thing is drivers still need to learn more about these systems," said John Sullivan of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Sullivan studies how technology changes drivers’ behavior. He says there are still a lot of questions to be answered.

"How much do drivers rely on the owners’ manual for information about these technologies? How much do they get from test drives with the dealer?” Sullivan asked.

The key for drivers learning and using this technology is to understand it’s assistive and not meant to replace a human being.

While car companies are implementing these technologies pretty rapidly in new models, the average age of cars on the road is 11-years-old, meaning it will take decades before nearly every car is equipped.