IIHS: drivers confuse ADAS with self-driving cars

A recent survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that many West Virginia drivers do not know just how their advanced driver assistance systems work. More than 2,000 drivers across the U.S. participated in the study. They were asked in particular how they would drive with five systems, including Tesla's Autopilot and the Traffic Jam Assist for Audi and Acura, without having the names of the automakers revealed.

The name "Autopilot" led many of the participants to think they could drive without their hands on the steering wheel when it is engaged. Others thought they could talk on the phone or text while the system was on. In reality, this is not the case; Autopilot assists drivers rather than replace them.

Deceptive marketing may be partly to blame. The same IIHS study had 80 people watch a video advertising the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, a vehicle wrongly described by Mercedes-Benz as a self-driving car. While most of the participants understood what adaptive cruise control does, many did not understand that the device may not detect a vehicle out of its range. There were also misunderstandings concerning lane centering.

Most ADAS are at level two of automation. This means that they require drivers to remain engaged and alert. The IIHS survey found that most people are unaware that there are five levels of automation.

ADAS are making some drivers complacent behind the wheel, which can lead to accidents. When such negligent driving is behind an accident, the crash victim may have a strong personal injury case. Legal counsel could help a plaintiff file a claim that leads to compensation for damages.

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