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Drivers don't understand limits of car safety tech, says AAA

Car safety tech can cut down on crashes by 40 percent and crash-related fatalities by 30 percent, according to federal estimates. Yet it can backfire on drivers who do not understand its limitations. This overreliance on safety tech, which can be seen in many drivers across New York, is the subject of a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report. The results raise questions about how drivers will adapt to a future of semiautonomous vehicles.

For example, among people who have blind-spot monitoring systems in their vehicles, 80 percent overestimated its ability to detect fast-approaching vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians. Twenty percent put so much trust in the feature that they never check for oncoming vehicles when changing lanes.

Other safety features can cause drivers to engage in distracted behavior. Twenty-nine percent of individuals with adaptive cruise control in their cars say they are comfortable doing other things behind the wheel when it is activated. Another issue is ignorance of a feature's function. More than 40 percent of drivers with automatic emergency braking confuse it with forward-collision warning.

AAA believes that misleading marketing is partly to blame. It also emphasizes the need for dealers, auto manufacturers and rental car agencies to educate their customers about the limitations of each feature. Otherwise, drivers begin to think that these features can replace, rather than merely assist, them.

In the event of a car accident, victims will want to consult with a lawyer about filing a claim. The courts will decide the percentage that each party was at fault, which will determine if the victim is eligible for compensation. A successful claim could cover medical expenses, vehicle damage, lost wages and more. An attorney could help build up the case with investigators and other third parties, and he or she could go on to negotiate for a settlement or litigate.

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