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Does driver assistance technology increase vehicle safety?

On Behalf of | Sep 25, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

When you are in the market for a new car, you likely want to choose one that has more safety features. More and more, new vehicles are coming equipped with driver assistance technology. The technology aims to prevent drivers from making errors that lead to an accident.

But how well does driver assistance technology work? Is using it really safer than if your car doesn’t have it?

Common driver assistance tech features and limitations

Some of the most common driver assistance technology features now offered are

  • blind spot monitoring
  • forward collision warning
  • lane keeping assist

However, according to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 80% of drivers with blind spot monitoring didn’t realize its limitations. The technology doesn’t detect pedestrians or bicyclists in drivers’ blind spots. But, drivers who had it thought it did.

The research also showed that 40% of drivers either didn’t understand forward collision warnings and automatic emergency braking or confused the two different technologies. Many drivers thought that a forward collision warning would apply the brakes, when instead it is merely a warning.

Other potential problems with driver assistance tech

Another potential problem with drivers having access to driver assistance technology is that they may rely on it too much. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research showed that 25% of drivers who had forward collision warning and lane departure warning technology felt comfortable enough with it that they could do other tasks behind the wheel.

Also, 25% of drivers with blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert systems no longer visually checked for oncoming traffic or pedestrians.

Understanding the driver assistance technology features and their limitations is key to it helping to reduce accidents. Yet drivers also need to practice common sense. Distracted driving claims nine lives per day in the United States. So, drivers still need to focus on the road and traffic around them to avoid devastating accidents, even if they have driver assistance technology.