There are dozens of new cars equipped with driver-safety systems, including Teslas, Cadillacs, BMWs, Porches, Audis, Nissans, Kias, and more. Some of these systems are more complex than others, with just a few rising to the level of so-called “driverless” technology.
But even the most advanced systems don’t 100% guarantee your safety. In fact, safety technology seems to be having the opposite effect, causing drivers to let their guards down and drive more dangerously.
Why are Car Safety Systems Less Safe Than They Seem?
A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that although driver safety systems can protect people when used properly, most drivers aren’t using them properly. The study highlighted problems like:
Drivers misuse adaptive cruise control. Adaptive cruise control is intended to keep the vehicle from straying too far above or below a certain speed, in small increments. Unfortunately, many drivers use it as an excuse to ignore the car’s speedometer completely.
Drivers over-rely on lane-keeping technology. Lane-assistance control makes tiny steering wheel adjustments to prevent drifting within the lane of travel. Drivers tend to rely too much on the technology, taking their hands off the wheel and their eyes off the road.
Drivers misunderstand autopilot mode. Very few vehicles have true autopilot technology and many drivers assume their car can do more than it’s really programmed to do. They turn on the car’s autopilot and tune out of driving, raising the risk of a crash.
Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers recently settled a case for $1.65M where the driver of a BMW believed her automatic braking system would stop her car at an intersection. As the driver turned to grab something out of the backseat, her car sped through the intersection running over and seriously injuring a pedestrian.
Do Drivers Feel Distracted? Lazy? Entitled?
Although about 80% of people admit to driving distracted at least occasionally, when a lawsuit arises everyone seems quick to pass the blame. Drivers don’t always feel distracted or even remember being distracted in the moments before an accident.
Research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that 55% of men and 46% of women are frequently distracted by in-car navigation systems. In fact, an Insurance.com survey found that in-car technology is now the #2 driver distraction behind texting and driving.
Carbuzz.com points out that “drivers are getting lazy,” featuring a story about a Tesla driver who crashed into a parked police car after activating the autopilot and turning to play with his dog in the back seat. Based on news reports, the Tesla owner didn’t even take the time to learn how his car’s autopilot system worked.
It’s also possible that driver entitlement is a problem. As we shared in our blog post about auto vs. pedestrian accidents, research indicates that drivers of expensive cars are more likely to feel a sense of superiority, as if they own the road.
You Can Sue a Distracted Driver
If you’re injured in a traffic accident with a distracted driver, you can sue for the cost of your medical bills, lost wages, vehicle damage, and pain and suffering. Under California law, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury claim.
And keep this in mind: California drivers can’t escape lawsuits by blaming their car’s safety technology. It’s no excuse to say, “It was the autopilot’s fault!” Ultimately, the human driver is still responsible for paying attention to the road. Get an experienced lawyer who’s won car accident cases involving self-driving features.
We Handle Your Car Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After a motor vehicle accident, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of traffic law, including injuries that arise from car accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details. We truly care about our fellow citizens of California. Call 877-380-8852 today for a free case evaluation.