Many new vehicles today feature advanced technologies designed to help prevent accidents or to mitigate the impact of accidents.
While good in theory, some new data suggests that drivers may put too much stock in these advanced safety features to the point where they become overly distracted while behind the wheel.
Study finds link between safety features and distracted driving
The Virginia Technology Transportation Institute evaluated study data in which drivers operated vehicles equipped with adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assistance features. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drivers in this pool were found to have an 80% greater chance of engaging in visually distracting or manually distracting activities. People were also found to have a 50% greater chance of engaging in any activity not related to driving that may result in a distraction.
The three commonly identified forms of distracted driving involve activities that take a person’s eyes, hands or mind off the act of driving.
Human error and motor vehicle accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains that the majority of vehicle crashes involve some sort of human error as a contributing factor. Too many lives are lost on U.S. roads and highways due to poor or negligent choices by human drivers.
Assistance-focused technologies aim to bolster human drivers’ capabilities. However, when drivers choose to disengage from driving when operating vehicles equipped with such technologies, some of the potential benefit of having these features may be lost. This even further highlights the problems associated with the bad choices human drivers may make at any given time.