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FROM OUR NEWS DESK

What is the Vision Zero Automotive Network?

Trying to save lives by making driving safer

Charlottesville, VA • July 2, 2019

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are all the rage. Backup cameras, lane guidance, 360-degree awareness, etc. are popular options on new cars, and they’re also popular add-ons for older cars.

There’s more to their popularity than our love for new technology, though. These technologies represent our collective desire to improve our driving safety. Recognition of this need led to the creation of the Vision Zero Automotive Network.

Zero traffic-related fatalities

Vision Zero Automotive Network

The Vision Zero Automotive Network (aka VZAN) is a group dedicated to educating consumers about the research behind ADAS gear and how to add that gear to their current vehicles. VZAN’s goal is to help bring the number of annual traffic deaths a lot closer to zero (hence the name).

Important research tells the story

Distracted driving is a concept that’s been around for a long time. Lots of studies have been conducted to determine impact of cellphone use, fiddling with the stereo, or complaining about how your favorite show ended wrong.

Over the past few years, automotive manufacturers have added tons of new technology to their cars in an attempt to combat distracted driving and to improve the driver’s awareness of the space around their car. This ADAS arms race is why backup cameras, park assist, etc. have become almost as commonplace as stereos in today’s new cars.   

Recent research shows how all this new tech makes driving safer, reduces accidents and, most importantly, reduces injuries to people. The biggest study in this arena was conducted by the Boston Consulting Group. Their study suggested that nearly 10,000 lives could be saved every year if more vehicles were equipped with ADAS technologies.

A man named Jeff Varick noticed this research. Jeff happens to be the president and CEO of Brandmotion, the country’s largest manufacturer and seller of aftermarket ADAS gear. Brandmotion makes products that let you add safety features like parking assistance, blind-spot warning indicators, backup cameras, and more to your current vehicle.

Jeff also noticed something else: Vision Zero.

What’s Vision Zero?

Vision Zero is an international movement to reduce traffic deaths to, well, zero. It’s a “vision” or dream of a world with zero deaths caused by traffic accidents. It began in Sweden in the 1990s, and in recent years, major cities like Los Angeles and New York City have adopted the Vision Zero philosophy to reduce traffic collisions and increase traffic safety.

The methodology is all about localities creating safer roadways and encouraging safer driving habits. It’s an interesting mix of infrastructure and psychology and it’s pretty cool.

Safer roads through technology

Aftermarket solutions and Vision Zero

Jeff realized he was in a unique position to bring those concepts together. Combining his company’s expertise in add-on products that increase driver awareness with Vision Zero’s mission to promote safer roads and better driving habits seemed like a perfect fit.

And it was. That’s how the Vision Zero Automotive Network came to be.

VZAN figured that their best route to success was to partner with other product developers and retailers to create a larger community that could help spread the word. Many car audio manufacturers were eager to join the cause. And so is Crutchfield.

Consumer safety

Safe driving has always been an important concept to us here at Crutchfield. For years, we’ve helped customers integrate new stereos into complex vehicle electronics. As with many things in life, there’s the right way to do something and then there are other, less-good ways that might be easier or cheaper.

We’re committed to helping our customers do things the right way. We want our customers to be safe and we want their new equipment to work the way it’s supposed to. The best way to make that happen is to do things the right way. We’re so committed to this concept that if a customer doesn’t want to do things the right way (which is almost always the more complicated way), that customer isn’t eligible for our free technical support.

We’ve also long been aware of problems with distracted driving, and not just because we’re in the consumer electronics business. We drive to work, too, y’know, and we’ve seen some things. That real-world knowledge fuels our passion to better educate our customers on the topic.

We’re always looking for cool new products and we frequently add informative articles to our website. Check out our tips for reducing the distractions. We also recently showcased some of the cool ADAS gear that we sell.

Everybody talks about safe driving, but at Crutchfield, we’re committed to doing something about it. That’s why we’re proud to be supporters of the Vision Zero Automotive Network.

Learn more about them at vzan.org/our-mission.

Staying alert and staying aware

Last updated 7/2/2019