Do Driving-Assistance Features Help Cause Fewer Car Accidents?

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With computer and mechanical-based technology dramatically advancing year to year, it is no wonder that the car industry has been trying to employ driving-assistance features that allow vehicles to virtually drive themselves. Automatic assistance features in automobiles can save lives, but their efficiency is the question that begs to be answered.

Driving-assistance features, known in the car industry as advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), are being placed inside new vehicles with the hope that they will help prevent car accidents that without an ADAS system would be unavoidable. In general, ADAS systems are in place to make up for human error, the reason for most motor vehicle accidents.

By using specific sensors, cameras, and computer software, ADAS systems can help a driver avoid an accident by literally operating the vehicle or alerting the motorist when a situation arises that the driver has failed to notice or for which the driver has not properly reacted. Having an extra set of eyes or a backup emergency system to help avoid car accidents is a powerful tool; however, relying on an imperfect car safety system could pose as much danger to a driver as the protection it offers.

The truth is that although ADAS systems offer help in avoiding accidents, the technology that makes them work is far from perfect. Thus, it is worth exploring what ADAS systems can do and how much you can rely on them.

How Do Drivers Feel about Driving with an ADAS System?

According to a report by Consumer Reports (CR), roughly half of new cars contain some type of adaptive cruise control (ACC) and lane-centering assist (LCA) that simultaneously accelerate, brake, and steer. The same report, however, finds that although many drivers believe that an ADAS system relieves the stress of driving, they do not allow a driver to become disengaged.

A report from Forbes states that drivers are disabling ADAS systems at an alarming rate. Forbes delved into a survey commissioned by Erie Insurance in which 500 car owners were asked about what safety features they disabled and the reason for doing it. The answers composed the general feeling that these systems were distracting and ultimately bothersome.

Drivers’ distaste of ADAS systems may vary from a lack of understanding how they work to a feeling of distrust or dissatisfaction. Regardless of the reason, many drivers are not sold on the idea of using an ADAS system. A problem for the lack of confidence is that many drivers expect safety features to work perfectly, so any lack thereof may cause skepticism and the belief that such a system is neither worth the cost nor the trouble of learning it.

A report from AAA found that most drivers simply want better-performing advanced systems. The report concluded that 77 percent of drivers surveyed claimed that they are more interested in the improvement of safety features than the further development of self-driving cars.

Despite the reluctance of many drivers to buy into the idea of advanced systems, according to Forbes, the ADAS systems are becoming more and more popular. Forbes noted research done by MarketsandMarkets in which it is predicted that the market for these systems on a global scale will rise more than three times than what is now $27 billion.

What Does Research Show about the Effectiveness of ADAS Systems?

It was reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that in 2019, more than 36,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents, many of which were because of human error. From that perspective, it is no wonder that car manufacturers are racing to provide better options to keep drivers safe. A safer vehicle adds up to greater sales.

Forbes pointed to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in which vehicles with blind-spot monitoring had a crash involvement rate 14 percent lower than the same model cars without the device. In the same Forbes article, it is stated that research by LexisNexis Risk Solutions reveals that ADAS vehicles had a 27 percent reduction in bodily injury claim frequency and a reduction of 19 percent in property damage frequency.

The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) compared insurance claim rates for vehicles equipped with a forward collision warning system with claim rates for cars of the same model that do not have that system. The result is that vehicles with the system have lower claim rates for property damage to other vehicles and personal injury to other people.

What Do ADAS Systems Offer?

Before listing the features of ADAS systems, it must be stressed that all ADAS systems vary to some extent, some more than others, and that is part of the problem: there is no through line or standard that car buyers can expect when considering a car with an automated safety system, including labels and symbols that help distinguish one feature from another.

ADAS systems collectively comprise many features. One of the most standard features is a forward collision warning system. This monitors the speed of your car and that of the car ahead of you, as well as the distance between both cars. When you get too close to the vehicle in front of you, the system will warn you that a collision is forthcoming.

A rear collision warning system does pretty much the same thing as the forward system. It warns you about vehicles behind you that you or your backup camera has not noticed.

A lane departure warning system monitors markers that divide lanes, alerting you when you are in the process of drifting out of your lane. This feature, however, does not provide a safety measure that would allow the system to take control of the car; it only gives a warning.

A blind spot warning system gives an audio or visual warning if there is a vehicle in an adjacent lane that you cannot see. If you do not react to the warning signal when changing lanes, a blind spot intervention system will automatically brake lightly or provide steering input that will guide you back into your lane.

An adaptive cruise control system adjusts your speed to maintain a steady distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. A pedestrian automatic emergency braking system collects information from forward sensors to provide automatic braking when a pedestrian is detected and you have not taken any action to prevent a car-to-person collision.

A lane-centering assistance system basically uses a camera-based setup that monitors your lane position and will use steering inputs to keep your car centered. A lane-keeping assistance system will steer your car in the event you drift lanes, including accelerating and/or braking one or more wheels.

Do ADAS Systems Reduce Auto Insurance?

Insurance companies do not yet consider the data collected by car manufacturers to be sufficient to reduce the cost of insurance. The fact is that ADAS systems are expensive, which means more money to pay for car damages in the event of an accident. AAA reported that vehicles with ADAS systems can significantly raise the cost of repair.

What Can Go Wrong with ADAS Systems?

Although ADAS systems overall can provide much needed protection, they are not failsafe. AAA conducted a variety of tests on different systems, and even though most of the tests showed positive results, there were some problems.

AAA reported that the most notable failure of these systems was that they cannot avoid all types of collisions. For instance, none of the systems tested were able to avoid a head-on collision with a car that had crossed the center lane. Another problem with these systems is that it is not very difficult for automatic brake systems to apply the brakes unnecessarily. Sometimes this system will misread the direction of a vehicle, such as a car in another lane as you enter a road from an entrance ramp.

One of the biggest problems is that technology does not work sometimes. This is a major factor as to why so many car owners are having trouble trusting these systems. It is always a good idea to stay alert while driving, and to use an ADAS system as an aid to drive safely.

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Clients Who Are Injured in Car Accidents

If you were injured in a car accident because of mechanical failure, technological failure, or human error, reach out to the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Our experienced legal team will investigate the cause of the accident and fight to secure the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, allowing us to represent clients in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.