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What Are the Risks of Relying on Vehicle Technology?

Published on Jun 3, 2022 at 9:40 am in Car Accidents.

The majority of newly manufactured vehicles come equipped with advanced technology designed to limit the chances of being involved in a car accident. Since its inception, crash avoidance technology has been effective at reducing the number of roadway fatalities and injuries. A Consumer Reports analysis determined that this technology could save as many as 20,500 lives per year if it was equipped on all newly manufactured vehicles.

There is no doubt about it; advanced crash avoidance technology is an effective way to prevent car accidents, limit injuries, and reduce fatalities. However, it is only effective when it is used properly. That is, this technology is designed to be used in conjunction with human behavior. The risks associated with relying on vehicle technology can actually leave you vulnerable to motor vehicle collisions.

Types of Crash Avoidance Technology

There are many different types of crash avoidance technology. Whether you recently purchased a vehicle or are in the market for a new car, here are just a few examples of the most common types of vehicle technology you might encounter:

Front Crash Prevention

You’d be hard-pressed to find a newly manufactured vehicle that is not equipped with front crash prevention technology. The 20 automakers who are responsible for 99% of light vehicle sales in the United States made a voluntary commitment to make new vehicles come standard with front crash prevention technology. This commitment was made possible by both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—NHTSA—and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety—IIHS.

Crash avoidance technology uses advanced algorithms, sensors, and cameras to identify:

  • Other vehicles
  • Pedestrians
  • Cyclists
  • Animals

According to the IIHS, crash avoidance technology will “automatically brake or steer the vehicle” when it detects the possibility of a collision and the driver does not take action to avoid it. Research has shown that this type of technology can reduce rear-end collisions.

Backup Cameras

Backup cameras have been standard on all newly manufactured vehicles in the U.S. since May 1, 2018. Prior to this standardization, many vehicle manufacturers voluntarily included this technology anyway, or at least offered it as an optional feature. If your car is equipped with a rear backup camera, a video feed linked to the camera should start up when you put your vehicle into reverse.

This footage gives you a clearer view of what’s going on behind your vehicle and eliminates some of your most dangerous blind spots. IIHS reports that backup cameras are associated with a 62% decrease in reversing collisions.

Lane Departure Warning Systems

Every driver should give their full and undivided attention to the road. Unfortunately, at Thomas Law Offices we have witnessed time and time again that many drivers believe they can successfully multi-task while behind the wheel. Whether that looks like texting and scrolling through social media or trying to eat lunch on the go, drivers will never be able to fully divide their attention between two tasks. Drivers are much more likely to struggle with even basic driving tasks such as maintaining their lanes when they are distracted.

This is where lane departure warning systems can help prevent accidents. Using sensors and sometimes cameras, your vehicle should alert you when you are drifting out of your lane.

There are limitations to this technology, though. In general, it works best when traveling at higher speeds, like on the interstate. Some systems will not function at less than 35 mph, either.

Lane Keeping Assist Systems

This is a more advanced version of lane departure warning systems. In addition to warning drivers that they are drifting out of their lanes, lane keeping assist will physically turn the wheel as little or as much as necessary to safely keep you in your lane. This means that the technology can take over to safely keep drivers in the correct lane even if they are distracted.

Lane keeping assist systems have the same limitations as lane departure warning systems, and function best at higher speeds.

Adaptive Cruise Control

Adaptive cruise control is a more advanced version of the traditional cruise control technology you might already be familiar with. With traditional cruise control, you set your vehicle to a certain speed, and it maintains that speed until you either turn off the cruise control or apply the brakes.

With adaptive cruise control—ACC—your vehicle will adjust its own speed automatically without your input. Using sensory technology like cameras, radar, and lasers, ACC can sense when your vehicle is getting too close to another vehicle. Depending on what type of ACC your vehicle is equipped with, your car might automatically slow down to maintain a safe following distance, or it might illuminate an alert on your dashboard that instructs you to apply the brakes.

ACC is also known by many other names, and you might see it referred to as active cruise control, radar cruise control, intelligent cruise control, and more.

Driverless Vehicle Technology

Although it is far from being standard on passenger motor vehicles, some people believe that automated driving systems are the future. Also referred to as self-driving cars, driverless vehicle technology uses high levels of automation (including sensors, cameras, and more) to take note of the surrounding environment and react accordingly. Driverless cars can do the following without any driver intervention:

  • Steer
  • Speed up
  • Brake
  • Avoid obstacles
  • Change lanes

This technology has yet to be perfected and is not expected to be widely available for the average consumer anytime soon. The National Law Review reports that self-driving cars have a crash rate that is more than double that of regular vehicles, coming in at 9.1 crashes for every million miles of driving time compared to only 4.1 crashes per million miles.

Risks Associated With Relying on Advanced Technologies

Advanced vehicle technology provides an added layer of safety for everyone on the road. This technology can only perform to its full potential when it is correctly used in conjunction with human knowledge and behavior. That is, it is not enough to put yourself on “auto-pilot” and rely on your vehicle’s technology to keep you safe. Relying on vehicle technology without any type of human oversight is not safe.

Anyone who has worked with a computer, smartphone, or tablet knows that technology does not always function as it is intended. Although human error is sometimes a factor, technology can break down because of:

  • Faulty wiring
  • Improper installation
  • Regular wear and tear
  • Cyber attacks

Many adaptive technologies are also still in their infancy, making them inefficient at handling complex, real-life scenarios that many drivers have to deal with on a regular basis.

Any driver who relies too heavily on adaptive vehicle technology rather than treating it as one of several driving tools is putting themselves and everyone else on the road at risk for motor vehicle accidents. Drivers should always be prepared to take evasive driving maneuvers to avoid causing a collision.

Having a vehicle equipped with advanced vehicle technology does not shield a driver from liability if their negligent or reckless behavior caused an accident, either. As we’ve discussed, relying on vehicle technology can be a factor in some collisions. If you were injured in a car accident through no fault of your own, Thomas Law Offices is prepared to prove liability in your case.

Having the right help on your side is invaluable for not only proving liability to an insurance company that is hesitant to pay for your damages, but also in properly valuing your claim and guiding you through what might be one of the most difficult times of your life.

The statute of limitations for personal injury claims is only two years in Illinois. Insurance companies know this, and they also know what it takes to run out the clock on that time limit by stringing you along. Don’t let the insurance company bully you into accepting anything less than what you need to make the best possible recovery. Contact us at Thomas Law Offices to schedule your free consultation with one of our compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys.

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Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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