The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has shed some light on an unfortunate trend, one that even many drivers in Arizona have fallen for. Deceptive marketing from automakers combined with the ignorance of drivers has led many to believe that advanced driver assistance systems make a car self-driving. This is far from the case.
There are five levels of automation with level five indicating that a car can drive itself under any condition. Most ADAS put a car at level two, meaning that they still require drivers to be actively engaged. Drivers cannot take their hands off the steering wheel, call, text or engage in other activities apart from driving.
The IIHS surveyed more than 2,000 drivers, asking them what would be allowable if a car was equipped with five different ADAS. Only the names of the programs were given. Among these was the Tesla Autopilot system. Nearly 50% said the Autopilot, perhaps on account of its name, would allow hands-free driving. Just over 5% ventured the opinion that the program would allow them to take a nap behind the wheel.
Also as part of the study, 80 people watched a video advertising the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, yet few understood all the safety features. Mercedes-Benz incorrectly called this car self-driving, though afterward, it pulled the ad.
Whether defective marketing can excuse a driver using ADAS from complacency behind the wheel is another matter. People who are injured because of another person's negligence may want to talk with a personal injury lawyer. Most attorneys have a network of professionals, including investigators, who can obtain evidence and explain how a misunderstanding of ADAS functions may have played a part in the crash. Victims may have their lawyer speak on their behalf at the negotiation table or in the courtroom.