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Some safety systems could actually increase crash risks

While many people in Kentucky have been interested in automated driving systems because they could help to prevent deadly crashes, some experts are warning that these technologies create dangers of their own. A study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers operating vehicles with certain types of advanced safety systems, such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance, are more likely to be complacent about roadway safety. They put trust in the technologies to handle the driving for them, which can actually increase the risk of a serious car accident.

The AAA researchers noted that when drivers properly use these technologies, they make the roads safer and decrease the number of severe motor vehicle accidents. However, researchers said that drivers rely too much on the systems, believing them to be something like a self-driving car. Instead, they are meant to help active, involved drivers protect themselves. Many drivers do not fully understand semi-autonomous technologies. As a result, they may take their hands away from the wheel and their eyes and mind away from the road. These systems are not equipped to handle the roads like future fully autonomous cars may be. As a result, drivers may be unable to react quickly in case of an emergency.

Researchers emphasized that drivers should use these systems as supports rather than replacing their own role as active, aware participants. Lane-keeping assistance helps to tug the wheels back in place if a driver drifts to the side, and adaptive cruise control changes speed automatically to adjust to the pace of other cars.

Technologies are quickly developing to improve roadway safety, but negligent drivers continue to pose a serious threat. People injured in a car crash through no fault of their own may consult with a personal injury attorney about pursuing compensation for their damages.

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