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Car safety technology can be a double-edged sword

Everyone has a strong interest in reducing car accidents, which cost many thousands of lives each year across the country and in the state of Missouri. Up until recent years, efforts to do so have focused on improving the physical safety of the driver and passengers to mitigate the severity of injuries in the event of a crash. The exponential increase in technological advances has recently added “smart” systems that can detect and either warn the driver or act independently to avoid crashes. In some cases, the technology has caused some unintended consequences.

The promise of technology is a true self-driving car, and some vehicles already on the road are very close to that reality. The problem is that, according to recent studies, some drivers rely too much on the technology and develop a false sense of security as regards safety on the roadways in general and drivers’ ultimate responsibility in particular. This has led to accidents in even the most technologically advanced vehicles.

In response, safety groups are calling for car manufacturers to add additional systems to vehicles that detect conditions indicating that a driver is not fully focused on driving and issue warning signals to re-focus the driver’s attention. For instance, detecting a driver’s hands not on the wheel and eyes directed somewhere other than toward the road are suggested options. A third component, in addition to hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, is the driver’s mental concentration on driving, which is more difficult to measure.

The bottom line is that each driver is charged with the duty to drive reasonably under the circumstances so that others on the road remain safe. Car accidents caused by the negligence of a driver may prompt injured victims to seek the counsel of a personal injury lawyer to negotiate for compensation.