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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Can Cars Be Made Safer?

Aired June 24, 2003 - 19:48   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: When you're behind the wheel of your SUV or your car, whatever you're driving, you know there are a lot of distractions out there, and some of them are dangerous, even deadly. Now if you ever wished there was some way to help you avoid accidents, Patty Davis has details on new technology that could actually make your car an equal partner in avoiding accidents. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Your car is coming up on an intersection and you don't see the other driver coming. This new technology warns you to stop before it's too late.

ZAC DOERZAPH, TEST DRIVER: Turn on the auditory alarm, which we heard, and the visual alarm at the same time to grab our attention.

DAVIS: Another technology flashes warning lights to get driver's attention. It's part of the government's intelligent vehicle initiative, to make drivers and cars smarter and cut down on the 40,000 traffic deaths in the United States each year.

JEFF PARIAD, FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION: The way we're doing that is working in partnership with the industry to get these kinds of technologies on the market, proven, faster.

DAVIS: On display at the Transportation Department's research center in Virginia, technology in this car warns drivers if they're veering off the road.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Using this high definition GPS map data, it compares your position with the upcoming road.

DAVIS: On this Cadillac, radar in the bumper averts rear-end collisions.

(on camera): So this would actually stop your car if you fail to do so?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.

DAVIS (voice-over): All successful in test situations, but will they work with average drivers?

(on camera): Critics say there's no guarantee drivers in real life situations will respond when warned, or have enough time to react at higher speeds.

(voice-over): Technology to avoid rear-end collisions is now available in some trucks with good results.

MARTY FLETCHER, U.S. XPRESS ENTERPRISES: We have seen as much as a 50 percent reduction in our preventable rear-end collisions.

DAVIS: Most of the technology for passenger vehicles, while promising, is still in the very early stages. And there are no estimates on costs. Officials say it could be years before you see it on the road. Patty Davis, CNN, McLean, Virginia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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