Can data analytics improve road safety?
The invention of the motor car was a major leap forward in human history; since then, it has propelled mankind to greater heights in the last 200 years.
Today, we enjoy a plethora of transport choices that help us get from point A to point B faster than ever before.
That said, like all good things, motorised transport also comes with a certain level of danger, and that is the increased risk of accidents.
Although road accidents predate the invention of motorised vehicles, the advent of faster, more powerful modes of transport has increased its risks significantly in recent years.
The first recorded motor accident in history, as it happens, was in 1891 in Ohio, USA—five years after the invention of the car—and the first death caused by a motor accident in 1899. Since then, countless people have experienced motor accidents in various degrees of severity.
According to annual global road crash statistics, 1.35 million people lose their lives in road accidents every year—an average of 3,700 deaths every day. A further 20-50 million also suffer non-fatal injuries due to road accidents.
In the last few decades, these trends have pushed governments across the world to put their best foot forward to increase road safety, and that resulted in significant decreases in the number of accidents.
In recent years, however, road accidents have, once more, seen a gradual increase.
This raises important questions about the effectiveness of traditional road safety measures, creating a real need for more advanced technologies like data analytics to improve road safety.
Data analytics can help us identify accident hotspots
A detailed look into road accident data will reveal that most accidents occur in certain hotspots—places that have the highest concentration of road accidents.
With data analytics, road safety authorities can identify these hotspots and the reason for the high concentration of accidents in these locations. It also allows them to implement safety measures like building roundabouts, which have proven effective in reducing injury crashes by up to 75%.
Moreover, with predictive analytics and historical accident data, authorities can engage in proactive accident prevention. This can also be useful when building new roads or repairing old roads, wherein authorities can incorporate features that improve road safety.
Increased traffic is another reason for the high number of accidents in major urban cities. With data analytics, urban authorities can manage traffic during peak hours better and reduce the likelihood of fatal or injurious encounters.
Data analytics supports driver safety features in modern vehicles
It’s no secret that many road accidents today occur due to distractions while driving.
According to recent statistics, texting and talking on the phone while driving are some of the leading causes of driver distraction. Fortunately, with advanced analytics and Artificial Intelligence, modern automobiles can detect these distractions and alert drivers about them—reducing the risk of accidents in the process.
Many modern vehicles also have in-built sleep detection systems that ensure drivers are not fatigued while driving—another leading cause of road accidents.
Moreover, data analytics powers many driver-assist features like traction control, cruise control, electronic brakes, and automatic lane changing systems to reduce the risk of accidents.
Automobile manufacturers also use data analytics and data modelling to identify limitations in their safety features and build safer vehicles that minimise damage in the event of an accident.
For example, modern vehicles can detect potential accident scenarios using advanced algorithms and can send signals to the airbag inflation system before the accident occurs. This reduces the latency in airbag deployment, reducing the risk of fatal injuries.
Data analytics can help us take a more up-to-date approach to improve road safety
Although motorised road transportation is one of the greatest innovations in human history, it has resulted in a significant increase in road accidents in recent years.
The good news is that with powerful data analytics, we can take a modern approach to a modern problem and save countless lives in the process.