Amy Parmenter
Public Affairs Manager, CT
O: (860) 570-4319
C: (860) 965-6161
aparmenter@AAA-AlliedGroup.com

TWO New Findings from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:

Technology - already in many cars – expected to Save almost 10,000 Lives a Year

But...Drivers Don’t Really Understand What It Can – and Cannot – Do

 

Analysis of the benefits of technology already in many new vehicles indicates it has the potential to prevent almost 3 million crashes and nearly 10,000 deaths a year, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

This technology, which includes autonomous braking, forward collision warning and blind spot monitoring, is expected to be standard on most new vehicles within the next two or three years.

“There are approximately 40,000 fatal crashes a year. Imagine a disease that claimed 40,000 lives a year and then imagine news of a breakthrough that would eliminate more than a quarter of those deaths. That’s where we are today”, says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford. “There is a lot of work to be done in terms of educating drivers about the benefits – and limitations – of the technology, but these are exciting times”.

As part of its ongoing traffic safety mission, the AAA Foundation evaluated the potential these popular Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) have in helping to reduce or prevent crashes. The findings show that, if installed on all vehicles, ADAS technologies can potentially prevent more than 2.7 million crashes, 1.1 million injuries and nearly 9,500 deaths each year:

ADAS Systems

Crashes

Injuries

Deaths

Forward Collision Warning/ Automatic Emergency Braking

1,994,000

884,000

4,738

Lane Departure Warning / Lane Keeping Assist

519,000

187,000

4,654

Blind Spot Warning

318,000

89,000

274

Total Potentially Preventable by all systems

2,748,000

1,128,000

9,496

 

 

 

 


In Connecticut

In 2016, more than 300 people were killed in crashes in Connecticut, according to UConn Crash Data. The Foundation research suggests ADAS technology could have prevented more than 75 of those deaths.

AAA Foundation Survey Finds There is Still Work to be Done

While many of these technologies are rapidly being offered as standard, many drivers are unaware of the safety limitations of ADAS in their vehicles, according to additional research by the Foundation.

For example, researchers found that nearly 80 percent of drivers with blind spot monitoring systems were unaware of limitations or incorrectly believed the system could accurately detect vehicles passing at very high speeds or bicycles and pedestrians. In reality, the technology can only detect when a vehicle is traveling in a driver’s blind spot and many systems do not reliably detect pedestrians or cyclists. Lack of understanding or confusion about the proper function of ADAS technologies can lead to misuse and over reliance on the systems, which could, in itself, increase risks.

“Driver understanding and proper use is crucial in reaping the full safety benefits of these systems,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Findings from this new research show that there is still a lot of work to be done in educating drivers about proper use of ADAS technologies and their limitations.”

With that in mind, AAA is encouraging automakers and auto dealers to take a more active role in educating drivers about the benefits and limitations of the technology. And, also urging drivers to do their part to ensure that they understand their vehicle’s features.

“New vehicle safety technology is designed to make driving safer, but it does not replace the important role each of us plays behind the wheel,” Yang continued. “The prospect of self-driving cars is exciting, but we aren’t there yet.  Automakers have an ethical and important responsibility to accurately market, and to carefully educate consumers about the technologies we purchase in the vehicles we drive off the lot.”

The Survey

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety commissioned researchers from the University of Iowa to survey drivers who recently purchased a 2016 or 2017 model-year vehicle with ADAS technologies. Researchers evaluated drivers’ opinions, awareness and understanding of these technologies and found that most did not know or understand the limitations of the systems:

  • Blind spot monitoring: 80 percent of drivers did not know the technology’s limitations or incorrectly believed that the systems could monitor the roadway behind the vehicle or reliably detect bicycles, pedestrians and vehicles passing at high speeds.
  • Forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking: nearly 40 percent of drivers did not know the system’s limitations, or confused the two technologies- incorrectly reporting that forward collision warning could apply the brakes in the case of an emergency when the technology is only designed to deliver a warning signal. Moreover, roughly one in six vehicle owners in the survey reported that they did not know whether or not their vehicle was equipped with automatic emergency braking.

False expectations for ADAS systems can easily lead to misuse of the technology or an increase in driver distraction. In the survey:

  • About 25 percent of drivers using blind spot monitoring or rear cross traffic alert systems report feeling comfortable relying solely on the systems and not performing visual checks or looking over their shoulder for oncoming traffic or pedestrians.
  • About 25 percent of vehicle owners using forward collision warning or lane departure warning systems report feeling comfortable engaging in other tasks while driving.

Only about half of the drivers who report purchasing their vehicle from a car dealership recalled being offered training on the ADAS technology. However, for those who were, nearly 90 percent took advantage of the opportunity and completed the training.

For now, drivers are their best safety advocate to ensure that they understand their technology’s features, functions and limitations before driving their new car.

In order to reduce misuse or over reliance on the systems, AAA encourages drivers to:

  • Read up: Read your owner’s manual to learn what systems are installed in your vehicle.
  • See it in action: Insist on an in-vehicle demonstration and test drive to better understand how the systems will engage on the roadway.
  • Ask questions: Ask plenty of questions about the alerts, functions, capabilities and limitations of the vehicle’s safety technologies before leaving the dealership. For example, ask if there are scenarios when a technology will not function properly on the road.

For additional resources, visit AAA.com/DriverAssistanceSystem. AAA’s classroom or online Roadwise Driver course can also help drivers learn more about the functions and limitations of popular ADAS technologies available on new vehicles. 

About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a not-for-profit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit www.AAAFoundation.org.

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CT Mailing Address:
815 Farmington Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06119

AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than one million members in Connecticut.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.aaa.com.

TEDx Wilmington Salon

Who's in the Driver's Seat? The Transformation of Transportation

On Tuesday, October 17, 2017, AAA and TEDx Wilmington held the first TEDx Salon dedicated to ideas worth spreading in transportation.

This event had:

  • 12 live talks given by 13 speakers
  • 368 people in attendance at the live event
  • More than 7,500 viewed the event online through Livestream, viewing events, and on the AAA Associate network
  • Online viewers came from all 50 states and approximately 30 countries around the world

View a slideshow from the event

This TEDx WilmingtonSalon was organized in partnership with AAA

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