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Too much reliance on vehicle tech poses serious risks

More and more vehicles are coming equipped with advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) designed to improve driver safety, such as blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision warning and lane-keeping assistance.

While recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research has found these advances have the potential to prevent 2.7 million crashes on U.S. roadways each year, over-reliance on such technologies can result in increased safety risks.

The problem occurs when drivers place too much trust in the technologies and are unaware of the limitations, leading to overreliance on a system designed to assist, not replace, the driver.

Researchers found 80 percent of drivers did not realize that blind-spot monitoring can only detect when a vehicle is traveling in a driver’s blind spot and often do not reliably detect pedestrians or cyclists.

Nearly 40 percent of drivers did not know the limitations of their forward collision warning or confused forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, incorrectly reporting that forward collision warning could apply the brakes in the case of an emergency, although the technology is only designed to deliver a warning signal. Roughly one in six vehicle owners did not know whether or not their vehicle was equipped with automatic emergency braking.

Beware: False expectations for ADAS systems can quickly lead to misuse of the technology or an increase in distraction as drivers become less engaged in actively driving their vehicles.