For many people, the surge of advancing technologies in new vehicles may hold the promise of fewer automobile accidents, more lives saved and less severe injuries experienced by pedestrians and motorists alike.
Unfortunately, the reality frequently falls far short of the promise touted by vehicle manufacturers and technology companies alike. The reasons include limitations of still-new technologies as well as poor choices made my human drivers.
Vehicle technologies still evolving
From lasers to sensors to software and more, the technologies powering more and more new vehicles today continue to grow and evolve at a rapid pace. However, these technologies have yet to come into their prime in many situations. Some studies have taken a closer look at just how effective these systems really are at saving lives.
One AAA study evaluated pedestrian detection and automatic braking features to see if pedestrians really are safer because of these systems. The Verge indicates that the systems were declared completely ineffective at night, when the majority of all pedestrian fatalities occur. In the daytime, some accidents were prevented but these represented only a minority of the test cases.
Human drives continue to make dangerous choices
Separate from completely autonomous vehicles designed to operate sans any human interaction, many vehicle technologies aim to assist human drivers and, in so doing, improve safety. Lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control features are two examples of these types of technologies.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, some research indicates that drivers put so much trust in these systems that they end up more likely to engage in distracting behaviors when operating vehicles equipped with these features.