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AAA: Drivers over-rely on advanced driver assistance systems

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Photo: MyCarDoesWhat.org

Washington — The majority of drivers who use their vehicles’ advanced driver assistance systems have embraced the new technologies – maybe too much on occasion – according to the results of a recent survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Researchers asked more than 1,200 owners about their experiences with, opinions about and knowledge of their vehicles’ technologies, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control.

Although results show that more than 2 out of 3 drivers trust the advancements, and at least 3 out of 4 find each respective technology useful, the responses reveal that some may be relying too much on the technologies and, as a result, engaging in potentially unsafe behaviors.

For instance:

  • Among owners whose vehicles have blind spot monitoring, 30 percent reported at least sometimes relying on the system so much that they change lanes without visually checking their blind spot.
  • 29 percent said they occasionally feel comfortable engaging in other activities while using the adaptive cruise control feature.
  • Among drivers who use rear cross-traffic alert features, 1 in 4 said they sometimes back up without looking over their shoulder.

Additionally, some respondents demonstrated a lack of knowledge about key features of the technologies:

  • A third of drivers whose vehicles have automatic emergency braking said they did not realize the system relies on cameras or sensors that can be blocked by ice, snow or dirt.
  • Among owners of vehicles with blind spot monitoring, nearly 80 percent were unaware of its limitations or incorrectly believed the system could accurately detect vehicles passing at high speeds, bicyclists or pedestrians.

“When properly utilized, ADAS technologies have the potential to prevent 40 percent of all vehicle crashes and nearly 30 percent of traffic deaths,” David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said in a Sept. 26 press release. “Findings from this new research show that there is still a lot of work to be done in educating drivers about proper use of ADAS technologies and their limitations.”

MyCarDoesWhat.org is a national campaign developed by the National Safety Council and the University of Iowa to “help educate drivers on new vehicle safety technologies designed to help prevent crashes.”

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