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IIHS: driver-assist tech not helping to prevent distraction

On Behalf of | May 7, 2020 | car accidents

Indiana residents should be aware of the dangers of driver-assist tech. While it can take over certain functions for drivers, it does not replace them. Many drivers have not realized this, though, and act as if they are riding in a fully automated vehicle. This has led to distracted driving and many crashes.

To take one example: In March 2018, the driver of a Tesla Model X engaged Autopilot and distracted himself with a game on his phone. The car veered out of its lane at a certain point and crashed, killing the driver.

Current driver-assist systems require drivers to hold the steering wheel, but a report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that this is not enough to prevent distraction. While better education may help, what is really needed is improvements to the technology itself. To this end, the report recommends three steps.

The first is to add methods whereby the systems can monitor drivers for distractions. The IIHS especially recommends driver-facing cameras. The second step is to measure drivers’ reaction times through sensors that perceive any manual adjustments to the steering wheel. Lastly, driver-assist systems should come with alarms that sound off when it’s clear that occupants are not physically or mentally engaged with driving.

Drivers cannot be prevented, though, from engaging in this type of negligent behavior; technology cannot avert all car accidents. Fortunately, there is a way to seek compensation through a personal injury case. Indiana follows the “51% fault” rule, which states that plaintiffs in such a case can recover damages if they are less than 51% at fault. With a lawyer, victims may strive for the maximum possible settlement with the auto insurance companies.