As technological advances continue to be made, auto manufacturers dream of the day when the first autonomous vehicle is available for purchase. With this goal in mind, continued improvements to safety systems serve to protect drivers from harm during any trip. But are these improvements leading to problems in other areas?
A study released by the AAA Foundation cautions drivers to remember that their vehicle safety systems are mainly included for support. Lane assist and collision detection, for example, exist only as an early warning system for drivers to navigate hazards carefully. These systems – even when taken as a whole – will not safely pilot the vehicle in place of a driver.
Unfortunately, many drivers believe it can do just that. With the early warning systems in place, drivers are more likely to pull their attention from the road. The AAA Foundation reminds drivers that they must remain alert and attentive while behind the wheel. In the study, the AAA Foundation concluded that two systems specifically – adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist – make drivers “nearly twice as likely to engage in distracted driving” as drivers who aren’t relying on those safety features.
Drivers begin to believe that the car will handle the act of driving and they quickly lose focus on the task at hand. Whether they take their eyes off the road to read an email or take their hands off the steering wheel to eat a sandwich after a long work shift, inattention can lead to crashes.
Distracted drivers can cause severe collisions on county roads, city streets and highways. Distractions can include anything visual, cognitive or manual. Talking on the phone, for example, personal grooming, eating, reading or manipulating a GPS unit can pull a driver’s attention from the road. Collisions can result in brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis or amputation. If you were injured or you have lost a loved one in an accident caused by a negligent driver, it is wise to discuss your case with a personal injury attorney.