Vehicle safety systems cause unsafe distractions

New technologies that were intended to make driving safer present a dangerous irony. These systems are increasing the risks of car accidents, according to a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study.

Adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and other automated devices may safeguard motorists, but drivers put too much trust in their effectiveness. As a result, these motorists do not pay enough attention to driving and may not keep their hands on the wheel.

Adaptive cruise control was designed to keep a safe distance between vehicles by automatically increasing or decreasing speed without drivers taking any action. Lane-keeping assist devices help drivers stay in their traffic lane by gently pulling on the steering wheel when the vehicle begins to drift.

According to the study, however, drivers with vehicles equipped with these devices are twice as likely to drive while they are distracted. Even more surprising, the AAA found that drivers who are less familiar with this technology are less likely to be distracted while using them

This recent study compounds other evidence that many drivers do not understand or are not correctly using partially automated systems in their vehicles. Another 2017 AAA study also showed that touch-screen systems installed in new vehicles placed motorists at risk of accidents because these devices were too distracting.

These systems are not necessarily dangerous, but auto manufacturers should educate drivers about these devices and their inability to make sophisticated decisions. Drivers must remember that these systems provide support and that motorists must keep alert and pay attention to the road. These findings may impact the automobile industry's slow transition from traditional to self-driving vehicles.

University of Utah researchers conducted this study by testing 30 vehicle infotainment systems and determined that these systems were all distracting to varying degrees. At least six models of vehicles were tested.

Victims of this distracted driving or a car accident caused by distractions such as texting and driving and using PDE devices may be entitled to compensation. An attorney may prove helpful in gathering the evidence needed to make compelling legal arguments in support of their quest to recover damages suffered.

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