Study: 80% of Drivers Over Rely on Safety Tech

While advanced safety technology continues to progress and become standard in more vehicles, AAA estimates about 80 percent of drivers overestimate the capabilities of these features.

Source: Kalamazoo Gazzette | Published on October 3, 2018

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The auto club specifically honed in on blind spot monitoring systems in the study and its Wednesday news release. In the study, AAA said about 80 percent of drivers remain unaware of limitations or "incorrectly believed the system could accurately detect vehicles passing at very high speeds or bicycles or pedestrians."

"In reality, the technology can only detect when a vehicle is traveling in a driver's blind spot, and many systems do not reliably detect pedestrians or cyclists," AAA said in the release.

"Lack of understanding or confusion about the proper function of ADAS technologies can lead to misuse and overreliance on the systems, which could result in a deadly crash."

Dr. David Yang, executive director of the auto club's safety foundation, said these advanced driver assistance systems could prevent 40 percent of all crashes and about 30 percent of traffic deaths if properly used.

"Findings from this new research show that there is still a lot of work to be done in educating drivers about proper use of ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) technologies and their limitations," Yang said in the release.

Some of the key findings in the study include 40 percent of drivers not understanding the limitations of forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems.

"Nearly 40 percent of drivers did not know the system's limitations, or confused the two technologies - incorrectly reporting that forward collision warning could apply the brakes in the case of an emergency when the technology is only designed to deliver a warning signal," the auto club said.

"Moreover, roughly 1 in 6 vehicle owners in the survey reported that they did not know whether or not their vehicle was equipped with automatic emergency braking."

Survey results showed about 25 percent of people admitted to solely relying on a blind spot or rear-cross traffic alert system instead of physically looking. Another 25 percent said these advanced safety features made them comfortable "engaging in other tasks while driving."

In the study, AAA estimated that, if installed on all vehicles, advanced driver assistance systems could prevent more than 2.7 million crashes, 1.1 million injuries and more than 9,000 deaths annually.

The main issue at hand, according to the auto club, is that only 50 percent of drivers surveyed said they were offered training regarding the safety systems before leaving the dealership.

Of those who were offered the course, AAA says 90 percent of them took advantage of the opportunity.

"The training drivers need to properly use the safety technologies in their vehicles is not currently offered," AAA Michigan public affairs director Susan Hiltz said in the release.

"If educating consumers about vehicle technology was as much a priority for the automakers and dealers as making the sale, we would all reap the benefits."