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AAA study: Advanced driving assistance systems can interfere with driving

Car accident attorneys

Drivers who have recently purchased new cars that are fully loaded with the latest advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) shouldn't get too comfortable with them, according to a recent AAA study.

ADAS technology often includes autonomous and semi-autonomous features that are intended to reduce crashes caused by human error. These systems may include:

  • Adaptive cruise control — designed to automatically maintain a safe distance between two cars by using radars and sensors, and speed regulation.
  • Lane departure warnings — emits a sound to alert drivers when they begin to drift from their lanes or off the road.
  • Forward collision warnings — alerts drivers of an impending forward collision risk by emitting a sound.
  • Lane keep assistance — takes over steering functions when a driver begins to veer off the road or too close to the centerline.

Dangerous glitches found in ADAS technology

These systems are touted as safe and accurate. AAA says otherwise. Researchers in the study examined the frequency of glitches in active driver assistance systems (which are a part of ADAS). They looked at the course of 4,000 miles of common driving scenarios. They found that, on average, there was a malfunction in these systems every eight miles. For example, they were found to fail during lane departures and impending forward collisions.

In addition, the systems that regulated acceleration, braking and steering were found to suddenly disengage. This forced drivers to take control of their cars in order to avoid a crash. In fact, 73 percent of errors that occurred on public roads were linked to:

  • Lane departure
  • Driving too close to a guardrail
  • Driving too close to a centerline

Active driver assistance systems are classified as level 2 driving automation by the SAE International on a scale of 0-5. These systems specifically include functions that support steering, braking and acceleration. They include both lane centering and adaptive cruise control.

AAA urges limitations on ADAS technology until further testing is done

As a result of this study, AAA has urged car makers to limit the amount of the semi-autonomous technology they include in new cars until further testing is done.

Greg Brannon is AAA's director of automotive engineering and industry relations. He explained why more testing is important.

“Active driving assistance systems are designed to assist the driver and help make the roads safer, but the fact is, these systems are in the early stages of their development,” said Brannon. “With the number of issues we experienced in testing, it is unclear how these systems enhance the driving experience in their current form. In the long run, a bad experience with current technology may set back public acceptance of more fully automated vehicles in the future.”

Dangers of relying on ADAS technology

This study alone should be alarming to drivers of new cars. When drivers become too dependent on semi-autonomous and autonomous technology, they may become too lax behind the wheel. They may also engage in distracted driving. So, they may not be able to take control fast enough when an ADAS error occurs. That's why it's critical that drivers stay engaged and in control at all times.

You never know when a crash may occur because of a car defect or human error. A single crash can happen within a split-second and be a life-changing event. The Chicago car accident attorneys at Coplan + Crane have seen lives turned upside down due to crashes. That's why we are dedicated to helping crash victims and their families get the justice they deserve.

If you or a loved one was injured in a crash, contact us to find out how you can get compensated for your losses. We offer free and confidential case evaluations.

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