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Car Accident Avoidance Systems Do Not Always Work

Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer Joseph Lipsky reminds is fellow drivers not to rely solely on vehicle safety systems as a way to prevent car accidents. Two recent studies by the American Automobile Association (AAA) found that so-called automated driving systems do not always work as advertised in stopping crashes and avoiding personal injuries and wrongful deaths.

The AAA examined safety systems from a number of vehicle manufacturers by driving more than 4,000 miles in their vehicles and found problems and issues with those vehicles on an average of one malfunction every eight miles. The most frequently seen problems revolved around keeping cars in their own lane of travel and in those vehicles being able to identify and avoid  vehicles which were stalled or stopped in front of them, with many of those cars with supposed self-stopping systems actually crashing into a stopped vehicle nearly 66% of the time, at speeds in excess of 20 m.p.h.

In AAA on-road tests, each system had difficulty keeping its cars in its own lane, often times coming dangerously close to another car. Simulated track driving showed all vehicles, even those with self-acclaimed safety awards, were not able to consistently recognize a broken-down vehicle. Other manufacturers’ vehicles were not able to be tested as their systems were only designed to be used on specific roads, like highways divided by guardrails – meaning they are not helpful in many real-world driving situations.

The AAA researchers were surprised at the lack of advancement and reliability in the proclaimed safety features, noticing little change in reliability since their last round of testing in 2018. The researchers have gone so far as to recommend that manufacturers not overstate the ability of their system’s capabilities. The study also found that systems which oversee acceleration, braking and steering, frequently stopped working without notifying drivers; meaning, motorist had no idea that a system they are relying upon has actually stopped working. The tests included vehicles equipped with systems called  “Highway Driving Assist,” “EyeSight,” “Co-Pilot 360,”  “Super Cruise,” and  “Active Driving Assistant Professional.” Names which are created and marketed to instill driver confidence. Not surprisingly, the disclaimers, that is the language which explains the limitations of each system, are usually buried within the voluminous pages of vehicle manuals.

AAA believes that because these safety systems have now found their way into the majority of new vehicles being sold, no longer just as options in luxury vehicles, that most drivers have a misplaced sense of security in the help afforded by the technology which causes them to disregard their own senses to avoid crashes. Those assumptions and reliance present a deadly and dangerous mix for unknowing drivers.

AAA urge manufacturers to design a uniform method of notifying drivers that a vehicle safety system is not working properly or has disengaged. The current varying mix of methods, which changes from manufacturer to manufacturer, makes vehicle driving too difficult. Because some vehicles use lights and others use a vibrating steering wheel, motorist are not always sure what any particular notification means.

We at the Law Offices of Joseph Lipsky certainly hope our fellow drivers realize that they cannot hand off their responsibility to drive safely to a car’s safety system, even one which is publicized as always working. Every driver has a duty to be on the look out for hazards and to drive their vehicle safely. For the safety of our fellow motorist in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, we urge all drivers not to ignore their responsibilities just because they paid for some technology safety system which may not work.

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