Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Carmel on the Case: Car Crash Prevention
We all know that airbags, anti-lock brakes, and of course seat belts can help you survive a car accident. But there is a new device that can prevent a crash before it happens. Carmel Cafiero shows us what it is in tonight's Carmel on the case.
WSVN -- Spinouts, rollovers and crashes; signs a driver has lost control.
Daniel Parkka has seen hundreds of fatal car wrecks.
Accident Reconstructionist Daniel Parkka: "52 accidents a year, serious ones and that 's just me covering them."
As an accident reconstructionist he pieces together the causes of a crash. He's even written a book to help police investigate accident scenes. He says thousands of people die because of driver's losing control.
Daniel Parkka: "Over steering is one of the main reasons."
That's when a driver makes an abrupt maneuver they can not recover from. But now, new safety technology is preventing accidents before they happen. It's called ESC or electronic stability control.
Jake Fisher from Consumer Reports: "Stability control is the most important safety feature since the seat belt."
We decided to put esc to the test. At 45 miles per hour, watch how many cones we hit on the course.
Now, with the ESC system turned on. We do the same maneuver at the same speed, but without hitting a single cone.
This is how it works - high tech sensors detect and correct sudden sliding. In a matter of milliseconds it applies breaks to one or more wheels and keeps the vehicle on it's intended path.
The great thing about a stability device is not only does it save lives but also you don't have to learn how to use it.
Jake Fisher: "With the best systems you don't know they are interacting."
And that sometimes makes it a hard sell because when it comes to buying options people want to see them or feel them.
Bob Crolic from Mercedes-Benz of Pembroke Pines: "I do think people are more aware of it and we do get more requests and manufacturers are getting requests and they are making more and more options available to the consumer."
But it can be expensive. An ESC system runs between $500-$1,400 depending on the manufacturer. Experts however insist it's cheap compared to what it can cost you down the road.
Jake Fisher: "We are taking life and death, absolutely."
Experts say no safety device will ever replace good driving habits. It's also important to note stability control systems are called different things depending on the make.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
If you have a story for Carmel:
Call her in Dade at 305-627-CLUE
Or In Broward at 954-921-CLUE