Car manufacturers have been rolling out new automated safety systems aggressively in the last few years. Cars are coming equipped with everything from backup cameras, to automated parking. Lane change assists helps avoid cars/vehicles in the blind spots, automated braking is helping avoid rear end collisions.
The American Institute for Highway Safety has noted that these systems are making us worse drivers, but that they are reducing car crash rates overall. Two separate studies found that lane-keeping systems are helping drivers lower their crash rates, but that the more they rely on these systems the less vigilant they are when driving without them.
The studies also noted that drivers can become distracted by the ever increasing dashboard displays that monitor performance of the automated systems. Combined with entertainment systems, GPS systems, regular dash displays, and in some cars battery performance displays, drivers will certainly have to work harder at focussing on the roads.
The studies show that overall the technology is saving lives, and that the fatal crash rates have been reduced by over 80% in cars that use the new technologies to help drivers avoid crashes. The study also concludes hat if all cars had lane departure warning systems 85,000 lane departure accidents would have been avoided in 2015. Safety experts call these figures encouraging but they are also very concerned that drivers understand the limits and capabilities of the automated technology before they get behind the wheel of the cars.
MIT conducted another study which found that drivers with parking assist and backup cameras spent 15 times more time looking at their dashboards while approaching and selecting parking spots as compared to those without the safety features. This resents issues of lack of practice in drivers when faced with parking a car without technology on board.
Automakers are working with safety experts to make cars safer, and to make drivers pay more attention to the task at hand of driving.