Automobile manufacturers and technology companies alike have been working fervently over the past several years to develop new features that may help to save lives by preventing or mitigating the impact of motor vehicle accidents.

While the theory behind these new safety technologies in vehicles makes sense and holds great promise, the realities associated with them may fail to live up to the expectations. Two different factors may be contributing to making this happen.

Technology limitations

One AAA study evaluated the effectiveness of pedestrian detection systems and automatic braking systems together. According to a report by The Verge, these functions failed so significantly in dark conditions that AAA rated them completely ineffective at night. Sadly, most pedestrian fatalities occur after dark. The best result in the study still found adult pedestrian dummies hit 60% of the time even with a vehicle traveling a mere 30 miles per hour in clear daylight.

Driver distractions

The Virginia Technology Transportation Institute reviewed the behavior of drivers operating vehicles equipped with adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assistance features. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, these drivers were 80% more likely to engage in non-driving activities that created either manual distractions or visual distractions.

In short, it seems that when operating vehicles with advanced safety features, drivers tended to be lazier and focus less on driving, choosing to rely perhaps too heavily on the technologies built into their automobiles. Unfortunately, this choice on the part of drivers increases risks for them as well as for their passengers and others on the road around them.