According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, human mistakes rank as the single most prevalent factor in motor vehicle accidents. In 2018 alone, more than 36,000 people lost their lives in traffic accidents across the United States.
Many new vehicles today include advanced safety features powered by modern technology. These features aim to fill in the gaps created by poor human driver choices or negligent actions in an effort to reduce accidents and save lives.
Technologies to assist, not replace drivers
Many of the new technologies built into vehicles today aim to provide assistance to human drivers, but not to completely replace them. One example of this type of technology is lane keeping assistance. This functions by providing an audible alert to drivers should they veer outside a designated driving lane. This type of technology differs from one intended to power a completely autonomous vehicle designed to operate without human interaction.
Driver reliance on assist features may increase distraction
According to a report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, some data suggests that drivers may rely too heavily on assistance technologies. One set of data reported by the Virginia Technology Transportation Institute reviewed driver behavior when operating vehicles equipped with lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control features.
Drivers in these vehicles took their eyes off the road more frequently and even had an 80% greater likelihood of engaging in other activities that took their eyes or their hands off the road or the steering wheel. Visual and manual distractions are two of the three identified forms of significant driver distractions.