Cars with advanced warning systems or other advanced safety devices are becoming increasingly common -- especially in new models. But, as effective as these systems can be, they're no replacement for a driver's attentiveness when behind the wheel. Sometimes, these systems may even be a contributing cause of an accident.
If you're involved in an accident with a car that has advanced warning safety systems, here's what you should know:
What different advanced systems are being developed or already in use?
One of the most common safety devices being installed in new cars today is an automatic emergency braking (AEB) device. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), ten major automakers report that they've installed AEB devices in about 50% of their new cars as standard equipment.
Typically, the AEB works by making use of a forward collision warning (FCW) system and, sometimes, a crash-imminent braking (CIB) system. The FCW system alerts the driver via noise or some other alert that there's an obstacle in the road -- like a pedestrian, an animal, or a stalled vehicle. If the driver doesn't respond quickly enough, the CIB system is supposed to take over to apply the brakes and either prevent a collision entirely or reduce the severity of impact.
How can advance car safety systems actually contribute to an accident?
There's no doubt that the right AEB system will save lives and reduce the severity of injuries in many car accidents -- which is why the NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) brokered a deal with 20 different car manufacturers to get these systems in all new cars by late 2022 without the need for legislation.
Here's the problem: Accidents involving Tesla vehicles have shown that it seems to be human nature to rely a bit too much on automated systems once drivers know they are there. Tesla is on the forefront of driver-assisted technology -- but it isn't yet a "driverless" vehicle. Yet, numerous accidents involving Tesla vehicles have occurred because drivers admit they were distracted and relying on the AEB systems to handle the job of driving for them.
In addition, a faulty AEB system could put even drivers themselves at risk. If a manufacturer rushes a system to market too quickly, a badly-designed system could throw the brakes on unnecessarily or too quickly and cause whiplash or head injuries to drivers.
What should you do if you're injured by a car with an AEB system?
If you're involved in an accident with a car that has advanced warning systems, automated braking, automated parking or any other automated feature that either fails or results in driver inattention, talk to an auto accident attorney about your claim. There may be more than one responsible party involved in your case and you want to know everything you can about your right to compensation for your injuries.