This is about safety systems built into vehicles.
As much as we praise the work of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (iihs) we also question the view that all the tragic results of crashes can be done away with the modification of vehicles. The institutes view is stated clearly on their website at IIHS, and read "A brief look at the field of highway safety".
The work that has been done in researching the actions and reactions of a crash have produced valuable information, and the creation of safety devices. Seat belts without a doubt save lives. Air bags do save lives, but due to the nature of the system and the speed with which it must deploy also cause injuries. At the end of the day if air bags do save lives and the injuries are minor and those injured can still walk away, the air bag has done it's job. When we feel the safety devices begin to become counter productive is when the safety systems start to give drivers the feeling that they can be less attentive to their actions behind the wheel, because the car will take care of it for them.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is a system that will selectively apply the brakes of a vehicle that is skidding out of control. Now admittedly a person could be driving down a road that is rated for highway speeds and on a curve in winter may encounter black ice and go into a skid. The ESC could help bring the vehicle under control, but so could the fact that if the operator exercised some level of caution, and slowed down because of the road conditions the skid if it occurred may have been able to be brought under control by the driver, so in this case the driver feels a false sense of security because they know that the vehicle will compensate for their lack of experience, or their carelessness. The same can be said for the new Collision Avoidance Systems, most of the systems presently in production are most effective below twenty miles per hour. The systems will react at higher speeds but is not as effective, yet. Again this presents it's own problem, it gives the driver the feeling that they can now talk on the cell phone, or respond to a text message, because the car will take care of them.
When any person gets behind the wheel of a two, three, four thousand pound vehicle or more they are operating a guided missile. The operator is responsible for the safety of anyone in their vehicle, in the vehicles around them, any pedestrians, and property they will drive by. The operators behavior must be focused on one thing, the safe operation of the vehicle, end of discussion.