Princess Diana Might Have Survived Her Car Accident If It Happened Today

Princess Diana was taken from us far too soon. The Princess of Wales died tragically in a car accident back in 1997 while her driver was reportedly trying to outrun the paparazzi. Since then, the royal family has spent years recovering from the loss. But the accident happened more than two decades ago, and now, cars are built far differently than they were in the 1990s. Would Diana have survived the fatal accident if it had happened today?

Princess Diana
Princess Diana | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

There were several factors that played a role in Diana’s death

When Diana passed away, there were several things that played into the fateful accident. Diana and her ex-husband Prince Charles had recently finalized their divorce, and ever since news of Charles’ affair broke, Diana had been hounded by the paparazzi. Throughout the couple’s divorce, the media were relentless toward the princess, and that carried over into her new life without Charles as well. On the night she died, her car was attempting to outrun paparazzi who had been following her. And Henri Paul, her driver, was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when the crash occurred. The paparazzi, the impaired driving, speed, and a lack of seat belts were all factors in the princess’ death.

Drinking and driving has become much less common than it once was

Over the past two decades, there has been a serious effort made to reduce the likelihood of someone drinking and driving. Police take the offenses more seriously resulting in pulling more drivers off the road, and rideshare services were created to prevent people from driving their own vehicles. Plus, public service announcements denouncing drinking and driving have made their way to televisions across the world. According to the European Transport Safety Council, road deaths attributed to alcohol declined by 47% between 2006 and 2016; it’s safe to assume that the percentage of decline is even higher from 1997 to 2016.

Had Diana’s driver been behind the wheel today, statistically, he would have been far less inclined to drive under the influence.

The car Princess Diana was in at the time of her death
The car Princess Diana was in at the time of her death | Pierre Boussel/AFP/Getty Images

Cars are built with more safety features today than 22 years ago

Safety has become the most important thing to car companies. Where luxury was once what everyone strived for, car companies are now rolling out more and more safety features to boost sales. Things such as blind spot sensors, automatic front and rear breaking, speed monitors, and strict seat belt alarms have been implemented through the years to help reduce accidents around the globe. Diana wasn’t wearing her seatbelt at the time of the crash, but the vehicle she was in likely didn’t have a seat belt alarm reminding passengers to buckle up. Plus, had the vehicle had speed sensors the way some cars do now, Henri Paul might have known he was driving far too fast and could have slowed the car down.

Diana’s accident might have been prevented if she were in the same situation today

The bottom line is that nobody can definitively say whether Diana would have survived the crash had it happened today, but the odds are definitely stacked with her that she would have made it out alive. 1997 was a much different time than 2019, and people have become increasingly concerned with impaired driving and vehicle safety. There is a chance Diana’s crash would have either been more minor or avoided altogether if all of those factors that played into her death had been avoided using today’s safety features.