Skoda is known in the world for one of the most safest and most reliable cars. Here is an example that shows how even the most reliable cars fail and cause fatal accidents. A 5 star NCAP rated 2015 Skoda Octavia killed a person purely due to electronics messing up the situation.
What exactly happened?
An Indian origin man, Kushal Gandhi, living in the UK was driving a 2015 Skoda Octavia which slammed into a stationary 18-tonne truck on the highway. The force of impact forced the car under the lorry and the roof of the car completely peeled off, cutting off the head of the driver. All this happened while Kushal Gandhi was on call with the Thames police telling them the horrific event he was going through.
A recording of the call where Mr. Gandhi called the Thames police reveals that the car suffered electrical failure. The car was in cruise mode on a highway when the cruise control of the car froze. The call handler asked if the car can be stopped by putting it in lower gear and the reply from Mr. Gandhi said that the car is in neutral.
The driver also tried pressing the start-stop button of the car when he mentioned that the car is not responding at all and all it makes is a sound. He also noticed atet the car speed is increasing. The car speed he mentioned was 77 mph or 124 km/h but he also mentioned that he feels that the speed of car is much higher than that. Later the exact speed was found to be 119 mph or 191.5 km/h.
When asked about if he has used the handbrake, Mr. Gandhi replied that he was not sure what will happen if he pulls the handbrake at such a high speed. The accident happened momentarily after this exchange of words.
Mr. Gandhi mentioned that the problem started when he tried to change the mode of the car from sports to normal. According the police collision investigator, the car did not suffer any malfunction or electrical failure. He also added that because of driver’s ignorance the accident happened.
Most modern cars in the market are a complex cage of electronics that adds convenience to the occupants and make the car safer but there are instances when such electronics fail and there is nothing that can be done to rectify the error.
Even though modern cars have become a lot more safer, there are also a lot of more chances of more electrical failures because of the extra complex nature of such electronics. A simple cruise control that is added for the convenience of the driver became the reason behind the fatal accident here.
What can be done?
Even though the dependence on electronics can’t eliminated, there should be a physical button for emergency purposes. A button connected directly to the ECU of the car that can override the car’s brain and let’s the driver stop the car should be a mandatory safety features in modern cars.
Source: The Telegraph