While it is true that advanced driver assistance systems can help prevent accidents, they cannot do so unless the driver is fully engaged in driving. Unfortunately, many seem to think that ADAS make a car virtually self-driving when this is not the case. This misunderstanding, which can be seen in Pennsylvania and across the U.S., was the subject of a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
As part of the study, more than 2,000 drivers were given the names of five different ADAS (without the names of the developers) and asked what they would consider safe behavior while driving with them. One of those systems was Tesla’s Autopilot. Perhaps because of the misleading name, nearly half believed they could drive without touching the steering wheel if Autopilot were engaged.
There are five levels of automation with level five meaning that a car can drive itself under any circumstances. The ADAS on the market, including Autopilot, achieve level two automated driving, where drivers are expected to maintain control of the vehicle.
False advertising, combined with drivers’ ignorance, has created a dangerous situation. For example, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class was described erroneously as being “self-driving.” Mercedes-Benz pulled the advertisements, but it did not clear up the confusion. Overestimating ADAS can lead drivers to become complacent.
Inattention behind the wheel, whether caused by phone use or drowsiness, is a form of negligence. When drivers neglect to stay alert and engaged and cause a car accident, they will be held liable for any injuries that the other side incurs. Victims who wish to file an injury claim may do well to consult a lawyer. They may find out how much they are eligible for, and the lawyer may negotiate for the settlement on their behalf.