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New car safety technology may confuse some drivers

Most drivers in Connecticut appreciate technology that helps keep them stay safe behind the wheel. Even so, automakers are concerned certain safety innovations they're adding to vehicles may confuse some drivers. Researchers liken the increased use of automated assistance technology to what happened when autopilot capabilities were first introduced.

When autopilot become standard, some pilots didn't know they could override the computers, and others didn't know how to do this. Similarly, fatal accidents sometimes occur because drivers don't know how to use their vehicle's automated assistance technology correctly. Becoming familiar with new technology can be especially difficult when drivers rent vehicles with newer features. Half of all vehicles that are manufactured are now semi-automated cars, and by 2022, automatic emergency braking (AEB) will be standard on new vehicles. While such technology is meant to avoid accidents, some drivers can't tell the difference between different levels of automation.

In one survey, 11% of drivers assumed autonomous vehicles would allow them to read or use their devices while driving. Also, adaptive cruise control could track vehicles in another lane. Plus, rear-facing cameras may not detect children or small objects, and car rental companies don't have the time or staff to demonstrate how new gadgets work. Therefore, it's generally advised that drivers remain attentive and ready to take full control of their vehicles at all times. Researchers believe a sensible solution is to find effective ways to educate drivers beyond simply adding more pages to the owner's manuals.

A personal injury attorney typically looks for any signs of driver negligence that may have contributed to an accident. So if individuals were being inattentive behind the wheel because they assumed their car would automatically alert them to pay attention, they may still be held responsible for an accident that resulted in serious injuries to drivers of other vehicles, passengers or pedestrians.

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