How the Google Personal Safety App Will Help Maryland Car Crash Victims

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The nightmare scenario of car accident victims is crashing on a remote road at night and ending up trapped and unable to call 911 on their phones. The good news is there’s an app for that – or at least there soon will be. Devices such as the Apple Watch are already credited with saving lives on the highway. Now Google is applying a similar approach in the development of a personal safety app that comes with “car crash detection,” reported The Verge.

If you were injured in a car crash in Maryland, call Baltimore car accident attorney Randolph Rice for a free consultation about your injury claim.

How Does the Google Car Crash Detection App Work?

The article noted Pixel phones will use sensors such as the microphone and the accelerometer to detect if your car has been in a wreck. If it detects one, it will sound a loud alarm and vibrate. The app developers figure any driver who was not involved in a wreck will turn the alarm off as soon as possible. If the alarm remains on, your phone will automatically dial 911 and give your location to the emergency services.

It sounds ingenious, although the app is yet to be rolled out. The source, XDA Developers caught a Play Store listing that Google posted prematurely. XDA Developers reported that the Play Store’s app description confirms the car crash detection function will be made available for Pixel devices in the United States. It’s not clear if it will be made available for all Pixel devices or only the Pixel 4 series.

The updated description points out drivers can pre-enter emergency contacts in the app, as well as medical information. You could even enter our details as the Baltimore personal injury lawyer of your choice. Although the most important call in any car accident with injuries is to 911, the app will allow your phone to call multiple people in the event of a wreck. XDA Developers report it could send your location and a custom message about your current situation to many different people.

Google says Personal Safety uses motion sensors, Pixel’s location, and “ambient audio” from the microphone to work out if an accident has occurred. It’s not clear exactly what the app will be listening out for. Possibilities include breaking glass, squealing brakes, and shouts. A parallel has been drawn with Alexa Guard that listens out for the sounds of break-ins.

There is a possibility of Personal Safety being activated in a situation that’s not a car crash such as a high impact activity like braking suddenly. A driver or passenger might have to tap “I’m OK” to prevent a call being placed to 911 and potentially a list of worried relatives receiving a false alarm. After confirming that you’re fine, Personal Safety asks you what happened. The app can then pick between no accident or a minor crash to help improve future detection accuracy.

The Personal Safety app is the latest step down the road of automatic crash avoidance and notification systems. The cars of the future are likely to feature many more of these options.

Google is expected to reveal more at its Google’s Pixel 4 event on October 15.

Are Cars Equipped With Crash Notification Systems?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) points out Automatic Crash Notification Systems are rapidly emerging technologies. However, according to, they debuted with General Motors OnStar system that was fitted in several Cadillac models in 1996.

Typically an ACN sensor works when it detects either that an airbag has deployed or a dramatic and sudden deceleration is detected, the system automatically connects to an operator. The operator is able to communicate with passengers in the vehicle after a crash. The operator can collect basic information from the vehicle in the absence of passenger input including where the car is to provide information to emergency responders so they can easily reach the crash scene.

In other systems, the ACN places a call directly to emergency services after an accident. Systems with this feature usually give the occupants of the car an option to cancel the call in case it was accidentally activated.

The NHTSA points out ACN systems can “reduce death and disability” by reducing the amount of time it takes the emergency medical services to arrive at the crash scene and take victims to a hospital. Seconds count after a car wreck with serious injuries. More lives can be saved and injuries treated more quickly if a crash victim receives EMT care as soon as possible, especially in the first hour after a crash. ACN is especially beneficial in remote rural areas, where there are less likely to be witnesses who can call 911 and distances to the nearest E.R. are longer.

ACN is available on some models of new cars, SUVs, and trucks. OnStar is one of the most well-known systems that includes automatic collision notification, but BMW Assist, Ford’s 911 Assist, Toyota’s Safety Connect, and other systems perform many of the same roles.

How Many Lives Could be Saved by Crash Notification Systems?

A National Highway Transportation Safety Administration study found ACN systems can dramatically cut the time it takes to notify emergency services to under a minute. Without an ACN system, the average time notification in a city like Baltimore is about four minutes and about seven minutes in the countryside.

Since every second is vital when life-threatening injuries are involved, the NHTSA estimates that over 3,000 lives could be saved every year, involving accidents in rural areas alone, if all cars, trucks, and SUVs were equipped with ACN systems. quoted Stephen Ridella, director of the Office of Vehicle Crashworthiness Research for the NHTSA. He said vehicles equipped with ACN technology could save between 150 and 300 lives every year by offering valuable information during the emergency triage process. He said:

“There’s something called a ‘golden hour’ where if you get a person to a physician with one hour [of a serious injury] their chance of survival goes up a lot.”

Could the Personal Safety App Help Your Maryland Car Accident Injury Case?

If a personal injury app or a crash notification system uses sensors and certain ambient sounds there is certainly potential for this information to be a useful asset in car accident injury cases.

The app may provide an insight into the time a sudden deceleration was experienced or the smashing of glass was audible.  The extent of the usefulness of apps or crash notifications remains to be seen but these systems could potentially store a wealth of information that could be used in a lawsuit.

Cars are equipped with an increasing array of safety features that should make our highways safer. However, the expected reduction in car accident deaths is yet to happen while pedestrian deaths have spiked to one every 90 minutes in the United States.

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyer Offering Free Consultations

At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, we will look at all aspects of your car crash and collect a plethora of evidence to help your case ranging from using modern technology to the tried and tested methods. We don’t charge you a penny to take on your case. Our fee is based on a contingency which means we are only paid if we secure a payout for you. Please contact our Maryland car accident attorney today at 410-431-0911.


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