Many drivers in New York are under the impression that advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS, are able to replace them behind the wheel. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has conducted a study to see just how widespread these misconceptions are. Researchers say that drivers’ ignorance, combined with imperfect technology and misleading advertising from the automakers themselves, is creating a dangerous situation.
Of the more than 2,000 participants in the IIHS study, nearly half believed that the Autopilot program (by Tesla) would allow them to drive without ever touching the steering wheel. Over 30% thought it would be safe to talk on the phone while driving with Autopilot on. A small group even assumed that Autopilot would allow them to take a nap.
The reality is that Autopilot, like other ADAS on the market, only allows for level two automated driving. There are five levels of automation with level two requiring drivers to still be alert and actively engaged in operating their vehicle. Level five allows for full autonomous driving, but vehicles are far from achieving this.
The IIHS study also involved 80 people watching a video on a Mercedes-Benz vehicle wrongly advertised as self-driving. Many participants struggled in understanding why some safety devices would become inactive. Others did not understand the features’ limitations.
While ADAS are meant to prevent motor vehicle crashes, they may contribute to some crashes if drivers do not grasp the limitations. Negligent drivers’ may face a personal injury claim afterwards: or rather, their auto insurance company will. Victims who intend to file a claim might want to retain legal representation since the insurance company will bring forward its own team of lawyers to argue against the claim and deny payment. If negotiations fail, a lawyer may prepare the case for court.