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AAA study reveals an overreliance on safety tech

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has released a study showing that many drivers do not understand the limits of vehicle safety technology like blind-spot monitoring systems, automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. This overreliance on technology has become a concern in New Jersey and across the U.S., raising questions as to whether drivers are really prepared for autonomous vehicles.

The study found that nearly 80 percent of drivers overestimated the ability of blind-spot monitoring to recognize fast-approaching cars, bicycles and pedestrians. A quarter of drivers with this system neglect to look behind when changing lanes.

Among those with adaptive cruise control, a system that accelerates and brakes on its own, 29 percent stated that they felt comfortable engaging in other activities while it is activated. Another problem is that more than 40 percent of drivers with automatic emergency braking cannot tell the difference between this system and forward-collision warning. The latter only warns while the other is what stops the car.

It's important to note that advanced driver systems do provide real benefits. Federal estimates state that they can prevent about 40 percent of crashes and 30 percent of crash-related fatalities. However, they are not meant to assist drivers, not replace them. Researchers say that misleading marketing and lack of education from dealers, auto manufacturers and rental-car companies could be partly to blame.

Drivers have a responsibility to keep their cars under control, so if overreliance on technology leads to auto accidents, they may be considered at fault. A crash victim can see a lawyer about filing a claim, but they must file before the statute of limitations expires. Legal counsel could evaluate the case and hire third parties to gather the proof to support it. The lawyer could then negotiate for a settlement.

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