Study shows drivers using car safety features overestimate capabilities

Published: Sep. 26, 2018 at 5:00 PM CDT
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A new study shows most drivers don't understand limitations of advanced car safety technology. The report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said blind spots are one of the biggest issues.

University of Iowa National Advanced Driving Simulator ( NADS) researchers took part in the study. The group told TV9 one of those misconceptions is the "lane keeping" feature. It's meant to keep vehicles in their lane while on cruise control but when the lines get etched away by weather or construction the sensors have a hard time picking them up. That's why people still need to be paying attention.

"There's uncertainty about some of the significant limitations of the technology." said UI National Advanced Driving Simulator Project Manager Ashley McDonald.

The study shows 80 percent of drivers didn't know the limitations of the blind spot monitoring. For instance, many don't know the system doesn't detect motorcycles or rarely sees fast-moving cars.

McDonald said that's why people still need to check their mirrors and take all the other necessary steps when driving.

"The whole point of this technology is to prevent a crash so it's very critical that drivers are aware of what their technology does, what it doesn't do and what it's designed to do," said McDonald.

It's exactly what the study says 25 percent of people didn't do. Instead, they relied solely on the car.

"They are driver-assisted systems they do not replace an attentive, engaged driver," said McDonald.

Another 25 percent of people - felt comfortable using it - while also paying attention elsewhere - like their phones. It's something some say is a problem all on it's own.

"You still have mirrors on the cars, you still have rear-view mirrors. (Phones) are what's causing the problem for more accidents. Every other car that goes past me is either texting or doing I don't know what but they're paying attention to the phone and not the road," said John Wright.

The features still do have their positives, though. A separate AAA study shows it can help prevent more than 2.7 million crashes and 9,500 deaths.