The driver-assist technology in some new vehicles depends on radar, cameras and software to interpret the data. Although driver-assist features, like automatic emergency braking, have the potential to reduce traffic accidents in New Jersey, drivers cannot rely on them entirely. The chief research officer for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety called the software a work in progress.
Testing of vehicles with automated driver-assist technology by a European organization determined that human drivers play the primary role in avoiding accidents. Overall, the technology appears to perform better with moving objects but can fail in other situations. Automated systems faced significant limitations when trying to interpret stationary objects or refocus after a vehicle changes lanes in front of the vehicle.
Engineers refer to the lane-changing problem as the cut-out scenario. Once the lead vehicle is no longer present, the software might not adjust in time to new conditions. Investigators blamed the cut-out scenario in the crash of a Tesla Inc. Model S with a fire engine. The Model S sped up after the vehicle in front of it changed lanes despite the fact that the lane change exposed the slower fire engine.
The assistance that automated systems provide could cause some people to rely too much on technology. Someone who causes a crash due to inattention could become responsible for an accident victim’s financial damages. A person who wants information about filing an insurance claim or lawsuit might talk to an attorney who is knowledgeable about car accidents. An attorney might collect evidence about the crash that illustrates the legal liability of the other driver. The opposing party’s attempts to deflect blame might also be counteracted by an attorney. These efforts may lead to a settlement that relieves the financial hardship imposed by medical bills, lost income or disability.