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Automation, driver disengagement could factor into accidents

Automation, driver disengagement could factor into accidents

| Mar 19, 2021 | Car Accidents

Motor vehicle safety has come a long way, and you may feel safer in your vehicle now more than ever before. Unfortunately, some of the same advances that are supposed to make driving safer could actually be putting you in danger. Some Louisiana drivers are relying a little too much on automation instead of paying attention to the road, which leads to disengagement and potentially more car accidents. Examples of driver disengagement include:

  • Fidgeting with electronics
  • Taking both hands off the wheel
  • Taking your eyes off the road

Driver disengagement is an unfortunate outcome of the rapidly automating motor vehicle industry. Many drivers now have access to things like adaptive cruise control — ACC – which controls more than just vehicle speed. With the vehicle itself in control of even more, drivers often feel more confident in doing other tasks.

What is adaptive cruise control?

ACC is more advanced than traditional cruise control. This is because, rather than just maintain a speed chosen by the driver, it can also maintain a pre-established distance between itself and the vehicle in front of it. This type of automation certainly has the potential to create safer driving environments, but it is not foolproof — especially if drivers stop paying attention.

A study conducted on more than 20 drivers found that disengagement levels did not change that much when people first started using vehicles with ACC. However, it only took a month for drivers using ACC to start disengaging more frequently. Researchers found that the automated system made a substantial difference in disengagement.

What is Pilot Assist?

Pilot Assist is another type of vehicle automation. This is a type of lane-centering technology that helps vehicles maintain their lane without driver intervention. Paired with the ACC, this could also significantly cut down on accidents. Again, the downfall is that it often leads to disengagement.

Researchers in that same study also looked at drivers using vehicles equipped with both ACC and Pilot Assist. They discovered that these drivers also started out with minimal disengagement. However, at the end of a month, they disengaged significantly more than drivers in vehicles equipped with only ACC — about twice as often.

Automation does not mean safe

Automated systems can help drivers maintain a safer presence on the road. These systems are not foolproof though and indeed have many shortcomings. For example, many automated systems are simply not capable of dealing with even common road features, so it is important for drivers to pay attention at all times.

If driver disengagement was a factor in your car accident, you could be facing a long road to recovery. From dealing with personal injuries and emotional trauma to balancing medical bills and lost wages, the journey is certainly not easy. This is why some victims choose to pursue compensation for their injuries, often through a successfully navigated personal injury claim.