New Study Shows “Driver Disengagement” Poses Major Safety Risks
Recent research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AgeLab has revealed a new accident risk being caused by the very modern driving aids we expect and trust to make our roads safer. They explored the possible connection between cruise control and car accidents.
What Is Driver Disengagement?
The study by the IIHS and AgeLab cites “driver disengagement” as a cause or contributing factor to an increasing number of car accidents over the past few years. The IIHS reports that recent testing has shown that motorists frequently lose focus when using driving aids such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, or automatic braking. Drivers take more and more of their attention off the road the more comfortable they become with modern driving aid systems.
One test placed drivers into two separate groups. One group was given a vehicle equipped with adaptive cruise control, which automatically adjusts vehicle speeds to keep a pre-selected distance to traffic ahead. Some systems can even slow the vehicle down to a stop in heavy or gridlock traffic.
Another group was given Volvo vehicles equipped with automatic cruise control and the manufacturer’s Pilot Assist, a “partially automated” driving system similar to systems used in vehicles manufactured by Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, and Cadillac.
By the end of the testing period, researchers found that while drivers in the vehicles equipped with only automatic cruise control had decreased attention to the road, drivers of the Volvos were 12 times more likely to remove both hands from the steering wheel than they were at the beginning of the study.
How Modern Driving Aids Can Impact Car Accident Rates
Distracted driving is responsible for many car accidents. Although modern driving aids can perform many of the mundane tasks of driving under ideal conditions, they still require drivers to maintain focus on the road and be ready to take over full control of the vehicle in an instant. Commonly occurring conditions like adverse weather or worn road lines can confuse even the most advanced systems, so drivers still need to maintain attention even when using these aids to stay safe.
However, research is showing that the more drivers become comfortable with modern driving aids, the more likely they trust that these systems can handle all kinds of driving situations. And this in turn makes them more likely to take their attention off the road.
Driver Disengagement and Fault for Car Crashes
If a motorist is disengaged due to their use of modern driving aids, they may be responsible, for causing a serious distracted driving accident. Even the most advanced partially automated driving systems on the market require drivers to keep their full attention on the road. When drivers engage these systems and then shift their focus to a cell phone or other distraction, they should be held responsible when they fail to react in time to an emergency that the vehicle’s driving aids cannot handle.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident where the other driver may have been distracted or disengaged due to the use of driver aids, contact the Florida car accident lawyers of Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC today for a free consultation to learn more about how our firm can help you pursue financial recovery for your injuries and losses.
With over 65 years of collective experience and a track record of over $125 million in total recovered for our clients, you can trust that our attorneys have what it takes to secure the best possible outcome in your case.
Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC is an accident injury law firm that offers top quality legal representation in personal injury matters, with offices located in Lutz and Brooksville, Florida. Our Spring Hill lawyers are dedicated Florida courtroom advocates for injured people.