Many new vehicles sold today in Canada are equipped with a wide array of advanced safety systems intended to prevent collisions entirely or to reduce the seriousness of their consequences. Since the 1990s, anti-lock braking systems (ABS) have been mandatory on all new vehicles. Starting in 2012, electronic stability control (ESC) became mandatory.
ABS prevents drivers from locking their brakes, which can lead to skidding and loss of control. ESC helps to correct sideways skids. The combined effect of ABS and ESC is to reduce the risk of drivers losing control of their vehicles on slippery roads.
Newer vehicles are often equipped with adaptive cruise control that automatically slows down the vehicle to maintain a constant safe following distance when approaching another vehicle from behind. In addition, a number of vehicles have automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems that reduce the risk of a forward collision. These safety systems calculate the risk of hitting another vehicle or object ahead and warn drivers or automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision or reduce the impact if the driver does not slow down. A lane-departure technology warns drivers who have not signalled a lane change that their vehicles are exiting the driving lane. There is also a blind spot information technology that warns drivers when a vehicle is in their blind spot. Early studies have shown positive safety benefits for these technologies: https://trid.trb.org/view.aspx?id=927086
Considerable research on connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) has been underway globally for the past several years. Information on CAVs in Canada can be found in the following documents:
- Driving Change: Technology and the Future of the Automated Vehicle (Senate, Federal Government of Canada, January 2018)
- The Future of Automated Vehicles in Canada Report of the PPSC Working Group on Connected and Automated Vehicles (January 29, 2018)
- Automated and Connected Vehicles Policy Framework for Canada PPSC Working Group on Automated and Connected Vehicles (January 21, 2019)
- Safety Assessment for Automated Driving Systems in Canada (Transport Canada, January 2019)
- Canada’s Safety Framework for Automated and Connected Vehicles (Transport Canada, February 2019)