AAA: Drivers Too Reliant on Safety Technology

Over the past decade, automakers have rapidly introduced new safety technology into their fleet of vehicles. The technology available only on high-end vehicles just five years ago – such as blind-spot monitoring, emergency braking, and lane-departure warning – is now becoming standard on new vehicles. These life-saving technologies, however, do have limits and, according to a new report by AAA, most drivers do not seem aware of these limits.

One example cited by the association is blind-spot monitoring. According to the report, a full 80 percent of drivers mistakenly believe that blind-spot monitoring systems detect cyclists, pedestrians, and fast-approaching vehicles better than current technology allows. Because of this mistaken belief, one-fourth drivers with blind-spot monitoring do not check their blind spot before changing lanes.

Another statistic showed that 40 percent of drivers with a driver assistance system could not tell if their car merely warned them of an impending collision or proactively stopped the vehicle. Drivers who do have automatic emergency braking were not always aware of its limitations, with 33 percent reporting they did not know that dirt, snow, and ice could block the preventative braking system from working effectively. The automobile association concludes that the lack of awareness among some drivers has the perverse effect of making drivers with safety technologies even less safe on the road.

The new technology equipping vehicles is undeniably creating safer vehicles. According to data released by the federal government, driver assistance technology can prevent between 30 and 40 percent of collisions. In addition to preventing collisions, safety technology can also make collisions less expensive and less deadly for everyone involved. To fix the widespread ignorance about the capabilities of driver assistance systems, AAA recommends car dealers proactively teach new owners. With more vehicles equipped with these technologies each year, education drivers about its limitations will be even more necessary.

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