AAA: drivers don't know the limitations of their car safety tech

Texas residents may find that driver assistance systems provide a great benefit to them. It's true that car safety features are effective and can prevent about 40 percent of car crashes and about 30 percent of crash-related fatalities, according to federal estimates. However, they can backfire on drivers if they fail to grasp the limitations inherent in technology. This is where a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety comes in.

AAA has found some alarming evidence that drivers are over-reliant on safety features like blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. 80 percent of drivers with the former do not know about its limited ability to detect fast-approaching cars, bicyclists and pedestrians, and 20 percent never even look for oncoming vehicles when changing lanes.

Among those with adaptive cruise control, 29 percent say they feel comfortable doing other things behind the wheel when it is activated. Others can get confused about the functions of their various safety features. More than 40 percent cannot tell apart forward-collision warning, which warns drivers of obstacles, from automatic emergency braking, which takes action when drivers don't.

AAA believes that dealers, automakers and rental-car companies are not doing enough to educate customers. Misleading marketing for car safety features may also be to blame. If the study is any indication, adapting to semi-autonomous vehicles will prove difficult for many.

After a car accident, victims will want to know if and in what way the other party was negligent. Over-reliance on technology can easily lead to distracted driving and other negligent behavior, so it can serve as good grounds for a claim. Victims are encouraged to have a lawyer, especially for the insurance negotiation stage. If the auto insurance company's legal team refuses to pay out in a settlement, the lawyer might decide to prepare the case for trial.

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