Tests performed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the Virginia Tech Transportation institute found drivers who were already familiar with semiautonomous safety systems were far less likely to remain attentive and engaged.  - Vimeo

Tests performed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the Virginia Tech Transportation institute found drivers who were already familiar with semiautonomous safety systems were far less likely to remain attentive and engaged.

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WASHINGTON — Drivers with experience using advanced driver assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist were nearly twice as likely to engage in distracted driving while using the systems compared to when they were driving without the systems, according to new research from AAA.

Alternatively, drivers with less experience and familiarity using the technology were less likely to drive while distracted with systems activated compared to when systems were not in use, noted Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

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“This new research suggests that as drivers gain more experience using ADAS technology, they could develop complacency while behind the wheel,” Yang said. “Overreliance on these systems can put drivers and others in dangerous conditions during critical moments.”

Researchers at the AAA Foundation collaborated with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute to analyze video of on-road behaviors for two groups of drivers using advanced driver assistance technology. Individuals in one group owned a vehicle equipped with ADAS while drivers in the other group were given a vehicle equipped with ADAS to use during the four-week study period and had less experience with the technology.

“Don’t get caught driving distracted when being focused on the road can save your life.”

The research found those drivers already familiar with the technology were more likely to drive distracted when these systems were active than when they were not. For example, some observed distracted driving behaviors included texting or adjusting the radio. Meanwhile, drivers with less experience using the technologies were more likely to remain attentive and engaged while the systems were engaged.

“Advanced driver assistance technologies have a lot to offer in terms of comfort and safety, but they should never replace an attentive and engaged driver,” said Dr. William Van Tassel, AAA manager of driver training programs. “Remember, technology fails us daily while at work and at home. So, don’t get caught driving distracted when being focused on the road can save your life.”

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