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When you walk into a Charleston new car dealership, you will be shown a wide variety of gleaming vehicles – most of which will be equipped with driver-assistance technology. According to new research from AAA, drivers who regularly use the assistance tech are “far more likely to be distracted behind the wheel,” a CBS report states.

As our regular Personal Injury Blog readers know, there is overwhelming statistical data that shows that distracted drivers are more likely to cause motor vehicle crashes resulting in injuries and fatalities.

Advanced driver-assistance technology can make vehicles semi-autonomous, but the National Transportation Safety Board (NHTSA) warns that some people rely on the systems too much and their own judgment and reactions too little.

CBS reports that 93 percent of new vehicles have at least one advanced driver assistance feature, whether as standard equipment or as an option. These features can help you stay in your lane, warn you that a vehicle is in your blind spot, maintain your distance from other vehicles and hit the brakes when you are about to strike another car or a pedestrian.

Yet AAA’s research shows that those who regularly use the systems are almost twice as likely to be distracted as when these safety systems are off.

A researcher said there’s evidence that the systems are “essentially zoning out” some drivers. The technology “can lull you into this false sense of security,” he said.

Drivers unaccustomed to the tech were less likely to become distracted, he added, because they don’t trust the systems as much as drivers familiar with the technology.

Driver assistance systems can include one or more of the following:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic parking
  • Head’s-up displays
  • Back-up cams
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Crash avoidance
  • Driver monitoring
  • Electronic stabilization
  • Lane centering
  • Lane departure warning
  • Speed adaptation
  • Traffic sign recognition

While some of the tech is undoubtedly helpful in keeping drivers informed of traffic conditions, the research indicates that some people unwisely begin to abdicate their driving responsibilities and assume that their vehicle will keep them out of danger and motor vehicle wrecks.