AAA Texas Survey--We Think Driver Assist Features do More Than They Do

posted by Jim Forsyth - 

Self driving cars are coming but they're not here yet, but don't try telling that to many Texas drivers, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

A new study by AAA Texas shows too many drivers think new tech features like adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning systems or lane departure warnings leave them free to text, surf the web, and otherwise not pay attention to driving.

"One third of owners we surveyed with Automatic emergency braking systems did not realize that the system relies on sensors that can be blocked by dirt, ice, and snow," Joshua Zuber, a spokesman for AAA Texas, told News Radio 1200 WOAI.

He blind spot monitoring is also increasingly a concern.

"Only one fifth of owners with blind spot monitoring systems correctly identified inability to detect vehicles passing at very high rates of speed.

Dr. David Yang, who heads the AAA Institute for Highway Safety, says these are serious concerns, and lead to distracted driving accidents.

“When properly utilized, ADAS technologies have the potential to prevent 40 percent of all vehicle crashes and nearly 30 percent of traffic deaths. However, driver understanding and proper use is crucial in reaping the full safety benefits of these systems,” he said.

Almost one half of all drivers thought Automatic Emergency Braking systems would apply the brakes in emergency situations, when it actually only sends a warning signal to the driver to apply the brakes.  

Equally, motorists thought their blind spot monitoring freed them from the need to look over their shoulders to check out oncoming vehicles before changing lanes.

The bottom line--these developments are called 'driver assist features' for a reason.  They assist drivers, but they don't take away the responsibility for drivers to watch the road and maintain control of their car.

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