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Cok Kinzler PLLP

Automated car features may lead to more accidents

Montana drivers who have vehicles with automated safety systems might need additional education on how to use these systems effectively. A study by AAA has found that the dependence and incorrect use of these systems is increasing the risk of accidents. Interestingly, the drivers who are less familiar with the systems have a lower risk of accidents.

The car accidents might be partly a result of drivers trusting the systems too much and therefore becoming distracted as they drive. The systems, such as adaptive cruise control and other technology designed to keep vehicles within their lanes and at safe distances from other vehicles, are meant to assist the driver. However, they depend on the driver being alert and keeping their hands on the steering wheel. These systems are not capable of making important, complex decisions on the road. Drivers who misunderstand this might become dependent on these systems and lose focus as they drive.

The AAA study, done in conjunction with researchers from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, discovered that drivers with access to such systems have twice as much risk to fall into distracted driving behavior than drivers who do not use those systems. The results also concur with an earlier AAA study that found that touch screens in vehicles are very distracting, which increases the risk of accidents. The systems themselves do not seem to be the problem. Instead, the problem seems to stem from drivers misunderstanding how to use them and how alert they need to be when using them.

Even when using these systems correctly, a driver might still be involved in an accident. Someone who has been hurt by a distracted motorist might consult a personal injury lawyer. Legal counsel could review evidence such as police and witness reports to evaluate if the client can file a claim for damages.

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