The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has released a study showing how drivers in Arizona and across the U.S. are relying too much on advanced car safety features like adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring. This technology is meant to assist, rather than replace, drivers, and it can backfire and put drivers at risk when the limitations are not properly understood.
The study finds, for example, that 20 percent of drivers with blind-spot monitoring never bother to look for oncoming cars when changing lanes. 80 percent do not understand the system's limited ability to detect fast-approaching cars, pedestrians and bicyclists.
Adaptive cruise control has made many drivers complacent about distracting behavior with 29 percent saying they feel comfortable doing other things when it is on. Other drivers cannot tell apart certain safety features. Over 40 percent cannot distinguish forward-collision warning from automatic emergency braking.
AAA says it's important for automakers, dealers and rental car companies to inform their customers about car safety tech and its limitations. It also points to the marketing of such technology as being potentially misleading.
The study's results raise questions about how drivers who cannot adapt to advanced driver assistance systems are going to be able to adapt to semiautonomous vehicles. When properly used, ADAS systems can prevent about 40 percent of auto accidents and 30 percent of accident-related fatalities, according to federal estimates.
When motor vehicle accidents are caused by driver negligence, victims who are not at fault may be able to receive damages. A successful third-party insurance claim could cover losses like medical expenses, vehicle repair costs and pain and suffering. Since the auto insurance company will be aggressive in denying payment, victims will want a lawyer by their side to ensure a strong case. An attorney could utilize a network of professionals to this end, including accident investigators and medical experts.