Advanced driver assisting technology may be contributing to distracted driving, according to a new AAA study. 
 -  Photo courtesy of Audi.

Advanced driver assisting technology may be contributing to distracted driving, according to a new AAA study.

Photo courtesy of Audi.

Two out of three owners of vehicles equipped with advanced driver assistance systems say they trust them, but many misunderstand the limitations of the technology. Evidence suggests that drivers could become over-reliant on the systems, according to a new study from the AAA Foundation.

Consider this fact. One-third of study participants who owned vehicles with automatic emergency braking systems were unaware the system relied on cameras or sensors that could be blocked by dirt, ice, or snow.

Moreover, only 21% of owners with vehicles featuring blind spot monitoring systems correctly identified inability to detect vehicles passing at very high speeds as a limitation of the systems.

Finally, respondents showed a lack of knowledge about their forward collision warning systems as well, with 29% believing that the system would brake itself if it got too close to the vehicle ahead.

In addition to misperceptions about the technology, few respondents reported taking actions to educate themselves about these technologies from sources beyond the dealership, owner's manual, or their own trial and error, according to the report. Just one driver in 10 reported seeking information on the Internet and hardly any reported having sought information about technologies on government websites.

The study findings also point to a trend of drivers engaging in potentially dangerous behaviors because they are relying too heavily on the technologies and becoming too complacent.

For example, one-quarter of owners of vehicles featuring rear cross-traffic alert systems said that sometimes they back up without looking over their shoulder. In addition, 30% who use blind-spot monitoring reported sometimes relying on the technology to the point of changing lanes without visually checking their blind spot.

The study also highlights a possible link between the systems and distracted driving. More than one-quarter of participants (29%) said they occasionally feel comfortable engaging in other activities when behind the wheel when using adaptive cruise control. Over 1,200 owners of selected model year 2016 and 2017 vehicles equipped with the systems were surveyed.

Read the full study here.

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