Why Collision Avoidance Systems Do Not Replace Driver Duty of Care

driver using high tech on car dashboardThe growing number of high-tech safety features in today’s vehicles are intended to reduce the number of crashes that happen each year. However, are there limitations to this technology?

Greg Coleman Law looks at the growing number of driver assistance systems while also addressing their limitations and driver responsibility when using them.

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Technology to Help Drivers Avoid a Crash

Collision avoidance systems may also be referred to as a driver assistance system or simply a crash avoidance system. Regardless of the label used, these systems are designed to help drivers avoid a crash seconds before it could happen.

Just a few of the systems available on the market include

  • Adaptive cruise control - capable of automatic braking when engaged
  • Automatic emergency braking (AEB) - when another object is approaching the vehicle, the braking system is automatically activated until the driver can take over
  • Forward collision warning - monitors the speed of the vehicle and any vehicle in front, emitting an audible sound if the distance between them becomes too close
  • Lane departure warning/lane-keeping assist - emits an audible sound when the vehicle begins to drift out of its lane - some models may counter-steering torque
  • Blind spot warning - warns the driver if a vehicle is approaching in a blind spot area
  • Pedestrian detection system - designed to locate, identify and alert drivers of human movement near the vehicle

According to a AAA evaluation, these systems are projected to avoid 2.7 million collisions, 1.1 million injuries and prevent 9,500 deaths annually. 

Hidden Dangers and Limitations

Collision avoidance systems continue to grow, both in number and efficiency. What does this mean for drivers? Can they relax more or zone out a little behind the wheel? Is this technology ready to take over a driver’s responsibility to look out for approaching vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists?

This may be what many drivers mistakenly believe. Unfortunately, this confusion about driver assistance systems and how they work may lead to other crashes for different reasons, such as if drivers:

  • Do not fully understand how the technology works
  • Rely too heavily on technology to help them avoid a crash
  • Become desensitized to the audible warning or completely tune it out
  • Disable the feature temporarily and then forget that it is off

Driver Duty of Care

Safety technology is exciting when you consider the number of crashes, injuries and deaths it could prevent. However, none of these systems are foolproof. Therefore, regardless of any installed safety feature on a car, drivers still have a duty of care and as such must remain alert for potential hazards while behind the wheel. Additionally, drivers are also still required to:

  • Follow all traffic safety laws
  • Check for oncoming or approaching vehicles before changing lanes or turning
  • Use appropriate turn signals to alert other drivers they are about to turn
  • Ensuring vehicles are maintained, including brakes and brake lights, tires, etc.
  • Take weather and other road hazards into consideration on the road
  • Avoid any reckless driving behavior, such as road rage, excessive speeding or darting in and out of lanes
  • Not drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • Avoid any type of distracted behavior, such as texting, grooming or eating while driving

Driver assistance technology should be considered as an added layer of safety, not a replacement for driver responsibility.

Contact Our Trusted Firm for Legal Help After a Crash

If you suffer serious harm because of another driver’s negligent or reckless actions, you may be eligible to seek compensation for any injuries or losses that result.

At Greg Coleman Law, our knowledgeable car accident lawyers based in Knoxville have a proven track record. We have recovered millions in compensation for our clients, and we are ready to work hard to seek maximum compensation on your behalf.

Learn more about your legal options and get answers to your questions. Initial consultations are completely free, and if we represent you, there is nothing to pay up front. We only get paid if we obtain compensation for you. Call to schedule yours today.

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