The outstanding transformations in vehicular technology have taken us to the next level of safe driving practices. From lane assistance, automatic parking, to autonomous driving, the advancements in new car tech have introduced us to a nuanced way to drive.
With change comes a new mentality. For drivers, the trust that is inherently instilled in automakers is something to be considered. There is little concern or worry when most new vehicles receive 5 star ratings and come standard with the highest safety features that drivers desire.
The concern is not the level of safety that new car tech provides, it’s the amount of trust and reliance that drivers put into these artfully designed vehicles. Is it okay for drivers to fully trust computerized mechanics? Although the answer should be yes, reality has other plans.
Find out why new car technology has made us lazier drivers — including why these safety features should be considered an aid to driving safer and not a dependency.
Does better car safety equate to careless driving?
When it comes down to judging the fundamentals of safety, our metric always relies back to the Institute for Highway Safety. Narrowed between their expertise and keen attention to research topics, the IIHS offers the knowledge and insight that all drivers should remain aware of.
By analyzing various studies performed, we’ve gathered sufficient evidence that new car tech, although increasingly helpful, has in its own way allowed drivers to reduce their focus on the road. Find out what technologies are contributing to this below:
Take popular new car tech driver assist, for example
Advanced driver assistance systems are one of the greatest operational features to date. This function is about as close as we get to autonomous driving in today’s world without realizing how advanced we’ve already become. Driver assist technologies include:
- Blind spot monitoring
- Adaptive cruise control
- Forward collision warning
- Lane departure
- Lane keep assist
While conveniently found in most new makes and models, it’s becoming more apparent that drivers are finding it easier to rely on these new car technologies versus their own driving. These systems are advanced, but can they truly maintain the alertness of the human brain? Not entirely.
The new car tech is not full proof. As much as we’d like to think that these state-of-the-art technologies are changing the game, they are not the reason to take our eyes off the road or decrease our attentiveness while driving.
Consider back-up cameras, too
At one point, back up cameras were the hottest trend in new car tech. Serving as a second pair of eyes while reversing, it has helped drivers maintain clearer visibility while backing up. Since 2018, after a decade-long advocacy for change, lawmakers mandated that all new manufactured vehicles come equipped with a backup camera.
With over 12,000 people getting injured each year due to backup accidents, it was determined that back up cameras would be made standard, with great hope that this new car tech feature would significantly improve road safety and prevent hazardous accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has tentatively determined that many of Tesla's touch screens are defective and pose a safety risk because they can cause backup cameras to go dark and defrosters to malfunction. https://t.co/R6bGxZfk0J
— The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) January 14, 2021
This feature is saving lives, but what happens when drivers solely rely on the rearview camera? Problems do arise when a driver does not turn their head to see a pedestrian running or children playing in the blind spot of the camera.
Is new car tech increasing the likelihood of distracted driving ?
There is no doubt whether new car tech improves our safety on the road. The advancements thus far have just broken the surface on how artificial intelligence will change the entire driving experience. However, the amount of reliance drivers put on new car tech remains the problem.
A recent IIHS study revealed that over time drivers “let their focus slip” when automated features are in function. With the security that new car tech brings forth, so does the easement of needing to remain as alert.
In time, this issue will continue to be monitored. The value and utilization of new car tech is beyond doubt. But, how do we implement new safety technologies without drivers naturally shifting their attention from full focus to careless – that question still remains.