New Study Warns of Dangers Linked to Advanced Driver Assist Technology

Orlando, FL – Findings from a new study warn of the potentially dangerous pitfalls associated with the emergence of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

According to the AAA Foundation, a new study found prolonged use of ADAS, like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, is associated with a 50% increase in the odds of drivers engaging in any form of distracted driving.

The study, conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, tracked the driving behaviors of a group of drivers who are experienced users of ADAS in their personal vehicle.

 

Researchers then compared that data against a second group of drivers who drove an ADAS-equipped vehicle, which they did not own, for only one month.

Findings revealed that the drivers with less experience and familiarity using the technology were less likely to drive while distracted with systems activated compared to when systems were not in use.

Further, the research found that drivers who owned their vehicles – and therefore had more familiarity with ADAS technology — were more likely to drive distracted when these systems were active than when they were not.

Meanwhile, drivers with less experience using the technologies were more likely to remain attentive and engaged while the systems were engaged.

 

Virginia Tech researchers theorize that drivers move through different phases tied to experience using ADAS.

First timers start in a novelty phase where they learn and test the technology.

Researchers say these drivers are less inclined to trust the system’s function and reliability, so they remain active and engaged while driving.


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Eventually, drivers reach an experienced user phase where over-reliance and too much trust in the systems becomes more common.

These drivers are more apt to take their eyes and attention away from the road.

 

As automated driver assist features continue to become more common in big rigs, researchers warn an over-reliance on such technology could lead to driver complacency which could result in a deadly distraction.

“Advanced driver assistance technologies have a lot to offer in terms of comfort and safety, but they should never replace an attentive and engaged driver,” said Dr. William Van Tassel, AAA manager of driver training programs.

“Remember, technology fails us daily while at work and at home. So, don’t get caught driving distracted when being focused on the road can save your life,” he added.

More About Distracted Driving 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving is defined as “any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.”

In recent years, data compiled by the NHTSA reveals as many as 10% of all fatal crashes involve a distracted driver.

However, law enforcement officers routinely point out that distracted driving statistics under represent the overall problem because drivers involved in such activities often do not self-report.

 

Further, investigators say they frequently must rely on witness accounts to make at-fault determinations, which can also result in skewed data.

Still, there were 3,166 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2017 alone, the NHTSA says.

Not surprisingly, young people are most at-risk of engaging in this behavior, according to NHTSA data.

Photo courtesy of AAA

 


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