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Over-reliance on car safety tech can backfire on drivers

Technology is changing the way that many California residents drive, and not always for the better. Over-reliance on collision avoidance systems and other safety features can make drivers complacent and a danger to themselves and others. A study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has analyzed this trend and come up with some startling statistics.

For instance, 80 percent of drivers are unaware that their blind-spot monitoring system has only a limited ability to detect fast-approaching vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians. 20 percent put so much trust in this feature that they never look for oncoming vehicles when changing lanes.

Another example is that 29 percent of drivers with adaptive cruise control say they feel comfortable engaging in other activities when it is on. This raises the question of whether drivers will be able to safely adapt to semi-autonomous vehicles; after all, such vehicles will require driver input when they encounter conditions they cannot handle.

AAA also discovered a lack of understanding regarding the functions of each safety feature. More than 40 percent of drivers cannot distinguish between their automatic emergency braking and their forward-collision warning. The study suggests that dealers, automakers and rental-car companies need to educate their customers more. In addition, car safety tech should be marketed in ways that do not mislead potential buyers.

When the wrong use of car safety tech is behind a car crash, victims may want to consult with a lawyer about filing an auto accident claim against the guilty party's auto insurance company. If successful, their claim could cover past and future medical bills, lost income, vehicle repair costs and more. The lawyer might be able to have the crash investigated and bring in medical experts to determine the exact extent of the injuries. If the other side refuses to settle out of court, the lawyer could prepare for litigation.

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