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Does the public have accurate expectations about auto-braking?

New auto safety systems cannot only impact traffic safety by the specific functions they perform, but also by the influence they have on driver behavior. What kind of influence such a system would have on driver conduct in part depends on what the public’s views about the system and its capabilities are. One would hope such views would be aligned with reality, as to avoid drivers taking actions based on inaccurate expectations about what a safety system could do.

Unfortunately, a recent study indicates there may be a lack of such an alignment when it comes to a new safety technology that has been getting a lot of buzz lately, automatic braking.

According to the study, there is currently a great deal of variation when it comes to auto-braking systems. For one, different systems have very different levels of performance. Also, such systems can differ in the main function they are designed to serve; some are designed to prevent accidents, while others are designed to reduce accident severity.

The study’s findings, however, indicate that the public might not be fully aware of this high level of variation. For example, in a survey conducted in relation to the study, a large majority (two-thirds) of the drivers aware of auto-braking who were polled indicated that they thought driver-intervention-less accident prevention was what auto-braking systems were designed for. This raises concerns that many drivers might be overestimating what some auto-braking systems can do.

One hopes that, as auto-braking and other new vehicle safety technologies become increasingly common, drivers will make sure to keep their expectations of what the technologies can do accurate and not let their expectations lead them to unsafe or reckless actions. Unsafe/reckless driving, regardless of how it comes about, can cause considerable havoc, damage and injuries on the roads. Individuals injured by reckless or careless conduct by another driver may want to have a discussion on legal options with a traffic crash attorney.

Source: Fortune, “AAA Says Not All Automatic Braking Systems Are Designed to Prevent Car Crashes,” Kirsten Korosec, Aug. 24 2016

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