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Drivers overestimate car safety systems

Technology has made vehicles safer than ever before with advanced safety features such as automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring systems and adaptive cruise control. A new study done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found that most drivers in Pennsylvania and across the United States don't understand that the safety technology has limitations and that most drivers overestimate the protection that such features offer.

The study looked at drivers who used the vehicle safety systems and then looked at the same drivers operating the vehicles without the systems. The study found that when not using the safety systems, drivers didn't operate the vehicles as well. This means that if the technology failed, that many drivers would not be able to operate the vehicle as successfully. Professionals caution that these safety systems are not meant to replace human drivers but are supposed to be used as additional help when driving.

Approximately 80 percent of drivers in the study thought that blind-spot monitoring could monitor fast-moving vehicles with greater capabilities than humans. Because of this assumption, approximately 25 percent of the drivers solely relied on the system and failed to look for oncoming vehicles when they changed lanes. Adaptive cruise control systems, which can speed up and slow down a vehicle, gave 29 percent of drivers to the confidence to engage in other activities while driving. The study does acknowledge that advanced car safety system features can prevent up to 40 percent of crashes, but knowing the limitations can help prevent a greater number of accidents from occurring.

Vehicular accidents can cause catastrophic injuries, pain and suffering, loss of wages and even death. Drivers have the responsibility to pay attention when they are driving; becoming distracted can result in negligence that can cause a car accident. In this case, a lawyer might be able to show that a driver was engaged in other activities, such as texting or eating, while operating a vehicle and relying on the advanced safety technologies to assist him or her. If a driver was negligent, compensation for medical expenses and loss of wages might be awarded.

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