AAA Study Shows Vehicle Assistive Technologies May Contribute to Distracted Driving

In a Virginia personal injury case involving a car accident, while the focus must be on proving negligence of the at-fault driver, it is also essential to consider other factors such as the car safety systems that the driver may have been using.

It may seem counter-intuitive at first, but an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney would know that third parties such as the car manufacturer or component maker of a car safety system could also be held liable for your injuries in some cases.

Car Safety Systems May Endanger Motorists

A recent research study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has shown that multiple assistive tech systems that are designed to make driving easier as well as safer may in fact be putting drivers in danger. The study found that lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control technologies could be encouraging drivers to be less attentive and get distracted, which increases their risk of accidents.

In an ideal setting, these technologies are meant to make the roads safer as it is expected that drivers will use them correctly. However, drivers often become over-dependent on the system, which puts them as well as others in the way of harm.

Continuing Car Safety Challenges

The results of the AAA study highlight the complex nature of safety challenges that the automobile industry faces as it continues to transition gradually from conventional cars to autonomous vehicles. A growing body of evidence shows that many drivers either do not fully understand the automated systems or simply do not use them as they should.

Research leader Bill Horrey of the AAA Foundation said that the organization has been trying to create awareness among drivers that these systems are only designed as an addition support, and the driver must remain attentive and alert under all circumstances.

Doubling the Risk of Distracted Driving

Adaptive cruise control enables a car driver to maintain a safe distance from other automobiles on the road by automatically reducing or increasing the car speed without involving the driver. Lane-keeping assist system is designed to help car drivers stay within their lane. As the car begins to drift, the system will gently tug the wheel to correct the position.

But both these assistive tech systems still require car drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and remain fully attentive. According to the AAA study, both these systems almost double the risk of distracted driving compared to other vehicles that are not fitted with these systems. Researchers believe that a driver who is not familiar with these assistive systems might be intuitively less prone to engage in distracted driving.

Need to Educate Car Drivers

The AAA study evaluated the car safety systems across a variety of vehicles, including the Jeep Cherokee, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Acura MDX, Hyundai Sonata, and Tesla Model S. Researchers point out that these car safety systems are not inherently risk, but there is a need for the automotive industry to find ways to educate car drivers about the limitations of these technologies.

Drivers should be aware that the automated vehicle systems of today do not have the capability to make sophisticated decisions on their own. The AAA study was conducted in collaboration with researchers from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. The researchers evaluated videos of actual behavior of car drivers when these assistive technologies were in use.

Consult with an Experienced Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in an auto accident due to another’s fault, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your medical costs, loss of income, and pain and suffering. Speak to dedicated Virginia personal injury attorneys at Shapiro & Appleton today for best legal advice. Call us at 800-752-0042 to schedule a consultation.

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Richard N. Shapiro
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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