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AAA study reveals how drivers overestimate car safety features

Missouri drivers who rely on collision avoidance systems and other safety features will want to know about a recent survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The study shows that many drivers are overestimating the capabilities of car safety tech and relying too much on it, even to the point of becoming negligent behind the wheel.

For example, 29 percent of respondents with adaptive cruise control are comfortable using their phones and engaging in other activities when the feature is activated. One in five drivers with blind-spot monitoring never look for oncoming vehicles when changing lanes, and 80 percent overestimate in this system’s ability to detect fast-approaching cars, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Other drivers do not understand the functions of the safety tech in their vehicles. More than 40 percent, for instance, cannot distinguish between the forward-collision warning and the automatic emergency braking system. The former only gives the warning while the latter takes action when the driver does not.

According to AAA, many drivers do not realize the limitations of car safety tech because automakers, dealers and rental-car companies are not educating them. Marketing for the technology can also be misleading. Nevertheless, such technology can save lives if drivers use it correctly. Federal estimates say it can prevent about 40 percent of car crashes and 30 percent of crash fatalities.

An auto accident victim might discover that the at-fault driver was distracted or engaging in other negligent behavior due to an overreliance on safety tech. In such cases, they may have good grounds for a personal injury claim. A lawyer could come in and negotiate on the victim’s behalf for a settlement.