Nowadays, most new vehicles on North Carolina roads come with driver assistance technologies.

The purpose of these technologies is to reduce – or even avoid – auto accidents. This might lead many people to wonder: Is this technology really helping to reduce crashes?

Driver assistance technologies are meant to prevent accidents

Common driver assistance technologies include, but are not limited to:

  • Forward collision warning
  • Lane departure warning
  • Automatic emergency braking

All of these technologies use sensors to detect objects and warn the driver before a collision occurs. For example, forward collision warnings often work in coordination with automatic emergency braking. If the sensors detect a vehicle in front of the car, they alert the driver to the obstacle, and then also begin to slow the vehicle.

This may sound beneficial, but several studies have led many to question how well these technologies work to improve safety.

Are these technologies effective?

There are conflicting reports over how well driver assistance technologies help a driver avoid an accident.

For example, two separate studies from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety determined that:

  • Drivers often rely too much on assistive technologies, with 25% of drivers stating they feel comfortable relying totally on blind-spot monitoring technologies and forward collision warning systems, instead of checking their own blind spots.
  • Driver assistance technologies meant to detect pedestrians are also still not effective. These technologies often cannot detect children running into the road, with a collision happening 89% of the time in testing. They also could not detect any pedestrian, adult or child, at night. These are two of the most common risk factors in pedestrian accidents, and these technologies are not helping to reduce these risks.

The findings from these studies do not mean that driver assistance technologies are not useful. It is important to note that these technologies are still developing. They certainly are helpful, but they are only an added layer of protection. Drivers cannot rely solely on these assistive technologies to avoid an accident and stay safe on the road.