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Crash prevention technology useless at its job

Better technology has improved vehicle quality significantly over the past several years. Likely equipped on your car are features that enhance fuel economy or battery life, creating a more powerful, reliable motor vehicle. Many passenger vehicles also have rear cameras to minimize risks when reversing. However, some of the biggest technological advances have to do with safety on the road.

Crash warning technology should alert Virginia drivers to possible collisions and pull them away from potentially distracting behaviors. Despite prolific use of this new technology, the results are far from a drastic increase in safety.

Distracted driving not distracted by crash prevention technology

Researchers conducted an analysis of past studies involving drivers behind the wheel of 2006 and 2007 Accords that featured crash warning technology. They hypothesized that the alert system would make drivers more aware of their distracted behavior and encourage them to pay attention to the road. One of the studies they looked at involved over 100 adult drivers, and another looked at 40 drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 years old.

The alert system did not seem to have much of an effect on the drivers involved in the study. Although the system engaged and alerted them to potential collisions, drivers continued to participate in non-driving activities while behind the wheel of the car about 46 percent of the time.

What are some common distracted driving behaviors?

Distracted driving is not a single action that individuals take while behind the wheel. Many different behaviors constitute distracted driving, all of which take a driver's focus off the task at hand by removing their focus, eyes, hands or all three. Such behaviors may include:

  • Having a conversation with a passenger
  • Speaking on the phone
  • Changing the radio station
  • Reading text messages
  • Physically manipulating a cell phone

Teenagers are more likely to engage in these types of behaviors than adults. Fifty-seven percent of teens involved in the analysis engaged in distracted driving.

Crash prevention technology plays small safety role

While this technology does not eliminate distracted driving, it can still help. Warning systems can alert a driver involved in secondary behavior -- such as texting or looking something up on their phone -- to an impending crash and hopefully bring their attention back in time to prevent a collision.

Unfortunately, nothing seems to truly stop distracted drivers from engaging in unsafe behaviors behind the wheel. These drivers can cause serious injuries with catastrophic injuries, as they are often too distracted to apply the brakes prior to a collision. Compensation is key for victims to achieve the best recovery possible, and an experienced lawyer can usually provide necessary guidance when pursuing a personal injury claim.

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