Do Driver Assistance Features Work?

Driver assistance features are new parts of many vehicles. From a backup camera to automatic braking, many new car buyers find these safety innovations exciting and trust that they will be protected by driver assistance. Experts have predicted that technologies like these could prevent 2.7 million crashes, 1.1 million injuries, and over 9,500 deaths each year. However, this outcome will only become reality if these systems work properly.

 A recent study by the American Automobile Association (AAA) found that vehicles equipped with driver assistance features experience an average of one issue every eight miles. This begs the question, do driver assistance features actually protect drivers? And what are the options for someone injured due to a malfunctioning driver assistance feature? 

Active Driving Assistance Systems

Active driving assistance systems are the highest level of self-driving technology on the market today. Some examples of driver assistance systems include:

  •         Electronic Stability Control
  •         Adaptive Headlights
  •         Rear-View Video
  •         Lane Departure Warning
  •         Lane Departure Prevention
  •         Forward Collision Warning
  •         Automatic Emergency Braking
  •         Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking
  •         Automatic Crash Notification

Some of these features like rear-view cameras, stability control, and collision warnings have become common across almost every new car on the market, though every auto manufacturer seems to call them something slightly different. 

How Can Automatic Driving Systems Fail?

On public roadways, 73% of the driving assistance feature errors AAA identified involved lane departure or inadequate lane positioning. The accuracy of lane positioning appeared to rely in part on the freshness of the pavement.

AAA also performed closed-course testing of all these features and identified concerning results. They tested what happens when another vehicle was stopped on the course, simulating a disabled vehicle. In these cases, crashes occurred 66% of the time at an average speed of 25 MPH.

Lastly, AAA identified issues in scenarios where vehicles perform automatic braking or otherwise take over control of the vehicle. 

“Active driving assistance systems, those that combine vehicle acceleration with braking and steering, often disengage with little notice – almost instantly handing control back to the driver. A dangerous scenario if a driver has become disengaged from the driving task or has become too dependent on the system,” the association wrote in a release on its newsroom website.

Ultimately, the association concluded that more testing and improvement of these technologies are needed. But those recommendations do little to protect the drivers who rely on these features today. If manufacturers don’t test these systems adequately, or misrepresent how effective they are during the sales process, they are misleading drivers and giving a false sense of confidence.

If you or a loved one suffered injury in a car accident and the failure of a driver assistance system contributed, the manufacturer or retailer could be considered negligent in the development or marketing of these features. Every case is different, but you deserve for your story to be heard. Contact the car accident injury attorneys at Christie Farrell Lee & Bell in Indianapolis. From answering your questions to fighting for you in court, we’re your advocates. Schedule a free Indiana attorney consultation today.