Distracted driver risk goes up with new safety systems

New technology designed to improve safety may cause more problems for Ohio drivers than it solves. Researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute returned data on two new safety devices and associated car accident risk. Both lane-assistance and adaptive cruise control technologies promoted human error. The AAA Foundation reported a higher risk of distracted driving and car accidents attributable to the safety devices. The finding ran contrary to the goal of automation technology, which is limiting human error.

Both technologies use external sensors to spot risks and provide slight modification to either direction or acceleration. The systems provide initial action, alerting the driver to the need to determine whether further action is required. The study showed that, instead of augmenting an attentive driver's attention, the systems replaced it altogether. Drivers increased the risk of getting into car accidents by trusting the systems and turning their attention to other things.

Researchers explained that the blame did not lie with the devices themselves. Rather, a lack of education in the nuances of safety technology caused a higher risk of distracted driving. The study also showed that experience does not always provide the best instruction. Drivers with less experience using the safety devices presented a lower risk of getting into a car crash than routine users.

Traffic safety studies have also documented the danger posed by touchscreen devices, such as navigation systems and cellphones. Ohio drivers now have even more reason to maintain vigilance for the distracted or negligent driver who may cause a vehicle accident. For the families and victims of a distracted driver, dealing with the pain and suffering can overwhelm and detract from the importance of obtaining the resources necessary for any possible recovery. An attorney with experience pursuing car crash claims may be the best option for families seeking the financial means to manage lost wages, medical expenses and the costs of short- or long-term disability.

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