Blind spot monitoring systems, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist and other advanced driver assistance systems have the potential to dramatically improve safety on the nation's roadways. However, a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed that the hope to limit car accidents is limited by driver misuse and misunderstanding of this technology.
Despite improved technology, there were over 37,400 traffic deaths in 2016, which was a five percent increase from one year earlier. Proper use of ADAS technologies could, however, prevent 40 percent of all vehicle accidents and 30 percent of traffic fatalities. If installed in all vehicles, ADAS technologies could have the potential to prevent over 2.7 million accidents, 1.1 million injuries and almost 9,500 fatalities each year.
However, the research showed that drivers still need more education about their proper use. One finding, for example, revealed that almost 80 percent of drivers with vehicles equipped with blind spot monitoring systems did not know that this system could not detect vehicles passing at higher speeds, bicyclists or pedestrians, as well as other limitations.
Almost 40 percent of drivers were unaware of the limitations or proper use of forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems. Drivers did not know that the forward collision warning provides only a warning signal but cannot apply brakes in an emergency. One in six vehicle owners were unaware that their vehicle had automatic emergency braking.
Compounding this problem, about 25 percent of drivers using blind spot monitoring or rear cross traffic alert systems over-rely on these systems and do not conduct visual checks or look over their shoulders for approaching traffic or pedestrians. Even more disturbing, almost 25 percent of vehicle owners feel confident engaging in other tasks while driving when they have vehicles equipped with forward collision warning or lane departure systems.
AAA recommend that manufacturers provide better instruction and education on the use and limitations of ADAS systems. However, only half of consumers who purchased vehicles equipped with these systems recalled that they were offered training. Almost 90 percent of purchasers who were offered the instruction took it.
Drivers who misuse these systems or take unnecessary risks may cause a serious accident. A car accident victim should seek legal representation to pursue their right to compensation.