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Adaptive cruise control, other safety tech distracts drivers

California drivers who use car safety systems are at a higher risk for distracted driving, according to a recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Researchers have pointed out which systems in particular raise the risk. To arrive at their conclusions, researchers surveyed vehicles like the Tesla Model S, Acura MDX, Honda Accord and Jeep Cherokee.

One potentially distracting feature is adaptive cruise control, which accelerates or slows down for the driver to maintain a safe following distance. Another is lane-keeping assist, a system that gently tugs at the steering wheel when a car is drifting out of its lane. Researchers are clear that these features are not inherently dangerous. However, drivers may become over-reliant on them and fail to stay alert or keep their hands on the steering wheel.

Part of the problem, then, is lack of awareness regarding the limitations of new car technology. The study is calling on automakers to do a better job educating buyers about these limitations. However, researchers did find that those who were less familiar with adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist were less likely to drive distracted.

Back in 2017, AAA found that touch-screen technology distracts drivers. Of the 30 infotainment systems that were analyzed, all but seven produced a "very high" or "high" level of distraction.

Distracted or inattentive driving is becoming more and more widespread as factors in car collisions. It's not always easy proving an at-fault driver was distracted, and this can make it difficult for victims of a crash to file a claim. With a lawyer, however, a plaintiff may be able to present a strong case. If retained, a lawyer could also handle all negotiations for a settlement.

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