Do some car safety features lead to distracted driving?

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Newly released research suggests advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that are designed to make the roads safer are actually putting more drivers in danger.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says ADAS technologies do make us safer when used correctly. Still, the group says too many drivers are lulled into a false sense of security when using the systems.

AAA study focuses on two devices

The 2019 study concludes drivers using the systems are more likely to become distracted as they place too much trust in the technology. The research focused on:

  • Lane-keeping assist: LKA gently nudges a car’s steering wheel if the vehicle begins to wander out of its lane
  • Adaptive cruise control: ACC works to maintain a safe distance between cars when cruise control is in use, by automatically slowing or speeding up the vehicle

Research analyzed behaviors of two groups

The AAA Foundation teamed with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, evaluating the driving habits of two groups. The first included drivers whose vehicles had ADAS already installed. Drivers in the second group had not used the systems and were given cars with the devices to drive for one month.

Researchers found that drivers who were more familiar with the two systems were twice as likely to become distracted when driving – some admitting to texting or adjusting GPS or other controls. Drivers who were less familiar with ADAS were more likely to pay attention to the road.

AAA urges drivers to ACE their next car purchase or rental

The traffic safety organization says drivers can take three simple steps to use ADAS technology correctly in the future, using the acronym ACE:

  • Always be active and engaged when using these systems
  • Commit to learning which ADAS devices are in your vehicle and know how they work
  • Expect that ADAS technologies are not fool-proof systems and have limitations

Do not take your safety for granted

The Foundation says ADAS has much to offer in terms of safety and driver comfort. However, they will never replace engaged and attentive driving habits.