On a brisk December morning in the early 2000s, an elf-involved collision occurred at an intersection in midtown Manhattan. To an accident reconstructionist asked to evaluate this incident, there are several questions that may arise, including:
- Who had the permissive traffic signal at the intersection?
- How fast was the taxi cab going at the moment of impact?
- How long was Buddy the Elf a hazard, and did the driver of the taxi respond prudently?
- Did a double-parked vehicle block the sight line between the two parties prior to impact?
Any of the above questions may prove to be the most critical aspect of a given case. However, in re-hashing this Christmas classic, the question that may have the most interesting answer is: Would modern vehicle technology have avoided or mitigated this collision? Thanks to the widespread implementation of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), the answer to this question is likely yes. Many modern vehicles (including the Toyota Prius and Camry, which are often used as New York taxis) come standard with a package of these features including pedestrian-focused front crash prevention systems. These systems commonly utilize sensors such as cameras and radars to view the roadway in front of the vehicle. If an impending collision with a pedestrian is sensed by the vehicle, it may provide a warning to the driver, and can also apply autonomous emergency braking in an effort to bring the vehicle to a stop prior to impact.
In the evaluation of this incident, the striking vehicle may have recorded new advanced vehicle data, including information about how the front crash prevention system performed. Additionally, testing of advanced driver assistance systems can play a critical role in the evaluation of a crash. Ongoing ADAS testing of new vehicles is conducted by groups such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and Consumer Reports. Case-specific testing may also be done to evaluate the performance of a system in a unique scenario.
As driver assistance technology become more and more prevalent on our roadways, the accident reconstruction team at ARCCA maintains expertise in ADAS and advanced vehicle data through research and testing. Visit our ADAS page to learn more.
To watch the clip of this classic Elf moment, click here. “Elf” is property of New Line Cinema.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all here at the ARCCA family!