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Tech savvy to tech safety: new software could prevent accidents

It may sound like science fiction, but several tech-savvy individuals insist that they can not only predict when and where an accident may take place, but get that information to emergency services before the crash even happens. They say with the help of their analytics software, this could become a reality across the nation.

Called C.R.A.S.H., short for Crash Reduction Analyzing Statistical History, the program compiles large amounts of data including everything from weather to past crashes and uses it to predict when and where a crash may occur. Although some of the program's predictions are less than accurate, sometimes they are spot on and have even helped to reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents in states that are using the software.

Although the software does come with a pretty hefty price tag -- $243,000 to be exact -- it's potential for stopping accidents, including drunk-driving accidents, is priceless. It's because of the program's use as a powerful accident-prevention tool that the Governors Highway Safety Office has funded the purchase of the program with federal grants in some states.

Although C.R.A.S.H. has helped reduce traffic fatalities in some states in a relatively short amount of time, it's important to remember that not all of the program's predictions are accurate or even result in actual accidents.

There is no way to predict when a driver will suddenly become distracted while driving or when a vehicle will experience a sudden mechanical failure. These accidents can be just as serious or deadly as those caused by drunk drivers or crashes during periods of high-volume traffic. They are also just as traumatic to the victims and their families and may lead to civil litigation later on.

Source: Government Technology, "Software Predicts When, Where Accidents Occur on Tennessee Highways," Shelly Bradbury, McClatchy News Service, August 4, 2014

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