AAA Points to Downsides of New Car Technology
Features included on rental cars might lead to driver complacency
The latest features in the most recent auto rollouts certainly look attractive and convenient to those who get behind the wheel. Those perks, especially the high-tech entertainment system on the dash, are certainly draws for car rental customers wanting something high end to book.
But there’s one major problem with these new technological bells and whistles that are irresistible to motorists. While some of those features include an emphasis on road safety, they may actually cause accidents, claims a research paper issued by the American Automobile Association from its headquarters in Tampa, Florida.
The organization especially looks at some preventive technology like adaptive cruise control, automatic braking and lane-keeping systems that might create the illusion of a driver being in a safe vehicle, but are in fact creating a level of complacency that might hamper the safe performance of the car.
“Drivers who owned their vehicles — and therefore had more familiarity with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) technology — were more likely to drive distracted when these systems were active than when they were not,” declared the study, issued by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “For example, some observed distracted driving behaviors included texting or adjusting the radio.”
Another finding revealed by the study was that drivers who didn’t know much about those safety features or decided to ignore them were much safer drivers. Not realizing the presence of these precautionary devices actually made those motorists more attentive, alert and focused while behind the wheel.
“Advanced driver assistance technologies have a lot to offer in terms of comfort and safety, but they should never replace an attentive and engaged driver,” said Mark Jenkins, a spokesperson for the AAA, to WKRG-TV. “Remember, technology fails us daily while at work and at home. So, don’t get caught driving distracted when being focused on the road can save your life.”
Those who rent a vehicle with safety features should still remain attentive regardless of whether those components are activated. They should also be made aware of the technology installed in the vehicle and realize that some of those features do have limitations.
While the report didn’t foreshadow anything concerning future technology, the study might be a caveat for proponents of autonomous vehicles, which will still take a while before they are in commercial service. Even among users of high-tech features, the vast majority of vehicle owners still have some concerns over the safety of driverless cars. The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration had similar safety concerns about autonomous mobility if it’s rushed to hastily to market.