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Relying on driver assistance technologies could be risky

From backup cameras to automatic emergency brakes, there are several new technologies in cars aimed to increase safety on the road. Even so, California drivers must still make sure they remain alert behind the wheel.

Several sources, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), state that these technologies are indeed helpful. But there are still some concerns surrounding these systems.

Why must drivers stay alert?

There are essentially two reasons why drivers must ensure they drive defensively, regardless of driver assistance technologies. These include:

  1. Technology’s effectiveness: Numerous studies report driver assistance technology still has a way to go before it is fully effective. In real-world scenarios, researchers found that many malfunction. The American Automobile Association (AAA) found that active assistance technologies frequently ran into problems in a recent study. Others report that pedestrian detection systems are not as effective at night when the risk of pedestrian accidents is often highest.
  2. Driver’s reliance: Another common concern regarding driver assistance technologies is that drivers will grow accustomed to the technology, and possibly less vigilant. For example, one of the most common systems is blind-spot detection. Checking blind spots is routine when driving, and the reports indicate that there is a risk that drivers could lose the safety habits they developed if technology takes care of those tasks for them.

Additionally, it is also worth noting that these technologies pose a distraction in some cases. It takes time to get used to the warning sounds or blinking lights that come with blind-spot detections or automatic emergency braking.

So, are these technologies a risk?

None of these reports are to say that driver assistance technologies do not help to improve safety or prevent accidents. There are many instances where these systems did help to accomplish those goals.

It is simply important for drivers to understand that these systems are not perfect. The technology itself might not pose a risk, but relying too much on them could. All drivers should continue to stay mindful and defensive whenever they are behind the wheel.