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AAA warns that advanced driver assistance systems can encourage distracted driving

Kansas car accident attorney

We frequently hear about new safety features being introduced into the automotive market. Car buyers are generally attracted to new and improved vehicle technology for the convenience and comfort it provides.

There are several key automated safety features coming standard on new cars. They're known as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). While there is no disputing that this technology can benefit drivers and even save lives, it comes with limitations. Malfunctions can occur without warning and can result in devastating crashes.

What is ADAS technology?

According to Consumer Reports, ADAS includes:

  • Forward-collision warning: Uses sensors to identify collision risks, then alerts drivers to slow down or stop.
  • Automatic emergency braking: Once the ADAS sensors detect a collision risk or a pedestrian in the road, the brakes are automatically applied.
  • City automatic emergency braking: Works the same way as automatic emergency braking, but applies to city speeds.
  • High-speed automatic emergency braking: The same function of automatic emergency braking, but applies to highway speeds.
  • Pedestrian detection: Uses sensors to detect pedestrians and bicyclists. This system either sounds an alert or automatically applies the brakes.
  • Lane departure warning: Alerts drivers when they cross the centerline or veer out of a lane.
  • Lane-keeping assist: Automatically corrects steering when a driver crosses the centerline or veers off the road.
  • Blindspot warning: Detects other cars in a driver's blind spot and sounds an alert.
  • Rear cross-traffic warning: Detects other cars, objects, or pedestrians when driving in reverse and alerts the driver.
  • Rear automatic emergency braking: Automatically applies the brakes to avoid a collision while in reverse.
  • Lane-centering assist: Helps drivers stay between lines in the road.
  • Adaptive cruise control: Uses radars and cameras and regulates following distance between two cars.

Why isn't it safe to rely on ADAS technology?

According to a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the overuse of ADAS technology can make motorists less attentive and less engaged in the task of driving.

With the help of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, AAA researchers used video footage to monitor two groups of drivers:

  1. Those who had experience with ADAS and owned cars equipped with it
  2. Those who weren't experienced with the technology and were given a car to use during the study

The group with more experience using ADAS was more likely to engage in distracted driving when using the technology, as opposed to driving without it. During the study, some drivers were seen using cellphones and adjusting their radios.

The group with less experience was found to be more attentive while driving. Some analysts believe that the less experienced group hadn't yet developed trust in the technology.

According to Virginia Tech researchers, there are different phases of experience that ADAS users go through. For example, first-time users may only learn and test the technology, but not actually use it. Over time, drivers may become increasingly comfortable with ADAS technology, making them more inclined to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off driving.

Over-reliance can lead to danger

According to Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, once drivers become more experienced with ADAS technology, they may fail to recognize its limitations.

“Over-reliance on these systems can put drivers and others in dangerous conditions during critical moments,” said Dr. Yang.

ADAS technology is only designed to help reduce the risk of a crash and make the driving experience more comfortable. It's not intended to replace the task the driving. AAA offers these three critical tips for drivers using ADAS technology:

  • Always stay active and engaged when driving a car with ADAS technology
  • Commit to understanding which ADAS technologies your car comes with and how they work
  • Expect ADAS features to have limitations

Should you be injured in a crash with an inattentive driver, the Wichita car accident attorneys at Warner Law Office can help you take legal action. Our attorneys have more than 25 years of experience fighting on behalf of injured motorists and their families. To find out how we can help you maximize your compensation, contact us online.

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