According to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, multiple systems that are designed to make driving safer and easier are actually creating a greater risk of crashing. Virginia Tech Transportation Institute researchers, who conducted the study in collaboration with AAA, assessed video of actual driving behaviors and found that adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist technology systems were among the list of car safety systems that may lead to distracted driving. Adaptive cruise control helps drivers maintain a safe following distance on the highway by automatically accelerating or slowly down without the driver’s help. Lane-keeping assist technology helps drivers stay in their lane by gently tugging the wheel when the car starts to drift out of lane. Both safety systems require the driver to remain alert and keep their hands on the wheel. When used correctly, these systems are designed to make roadways safer. However, researchers found that some drivers do not properly use or understand partially automated systems.
Researchers also found that drivers are placing too much trust in these systems, causing drivers to let their guard down. The AAA study concluded that adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist technology make drivers nearly twice as likely to engage in distracted driving as drivers who are not using them. While the study does not mean that the safety systems are inherently dangerous, it does suggest that the auto industry has to do a better job of educating drivers about the limitations of such systems. AAA urges drivers that these systems are merely support systems and that their role is to remain alert and attentive while driving.
If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of a distracted driver, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-231-9360 or toll free at 1‑800-594-4884.