VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

AAA: drivers rely too much on car safety systems

Florida motorists who rely on driver assistance systems to be safe on the road will want to be careful. A report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that many drivers do not understand the limitations of these safety features. For example, 80 percent of study respondents overestimated the ability of blind-spot monitoring to detect fast-approaching vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians.

This leads many to engage in unsafe behavior. With blind-spot monitoring, 20 percent of drivers fail to look for oncoming cars when changing lanes. Nearly 30 percent of drivers with adaptive cruise control think they can engage in other activities while it is activated. Others are unclear about the function of certain features. According to AAA, 40 percent of drivers do not know the difference between forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking.

While driver assistance systems can reduce the number of car crashes by 40 percent and crash fatalities by 30 percent, they can backfire on those who rely too heavily on them. The report states that dealers, auto manufacturers and rental-car companies need to educate customers on the limitations of such technology.

This overreliance on technology puts doubt on whether drivers can adapt to semi-autonomous vehicles. When these vehicles encounter conditions they can't handle, they require the driver to take control of the steering wheel.

If the victim of an auto accident finds out that the at-fault party was negligent, they can file a claim against that party's auto insurance company. It's important to get legal representation, though, as a lawyer could bring investigators and other parties in to build up the case. They can gather the police report and any other available evidence. The lawyer could then negotiate for an informal settlement covering vehicle repair costs, past and future medical bills and lost wages.

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