Michael J. Gaffney Attorney at Law
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Vehicle safety systems can lead to auto accidents if misused

In Staten Island and throughout New York City, there are endless dangers on the road. That includes distracted drivers, drivers under the influence, reckless drivers and negligent drivers. What might come as a surprise is that technologies that are being installed by auto manufacturers to improve safety are also risky and can cause accidents because they are not being used properly. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has examined this issue.

The innovations, such as the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, can help avoid approximately 2.7 million auto accidents, stop 1.1 million people from suffering injuries and prevent 9,500 fatalities. Unfortunately, drivers are often not cognizant of the limits on these systems and believe they can do more in terms of safety than they actually can. With that, accidents can happen with injuries and fatalities. The systems that can cause danger are to monitor blind spots while driving, automatic braking, warnings when there is a lane departure, cruise control and forward collision signals.

The problem is that people do not know how to use these items. Some people do not want to surrender the driving responsibilities to these systems. In other cases, there could be a false sense of security in believing that the systems give the drivers leeway to multitask when it is not there. They are meant to serve as help for drivers, not replace them.

A survey of drivers who had vehicles with ADAS showed that 80 percent thought blind spot monitoring had functions it did not have, such as seeing objects and people behind the vehicle. 40 percent of drivers experienced confusion in emergency braking and forward collision systems. One driver in six was not even aware of their vehicle having the emergency braking system to begin with.

Advice from AAA says that car dealers should be more vigilant about informing and educating drivers as to the capabilities of their vehicles and what the systems do. However, when there is an accident, the driver is ultimately responsible for his or her actions and a lack of understanding as to what the vehicle's systems are and are not capable of is not an excuse. With any crash, there can be serious injuries, hospitalizations, lost time on the job and long-term problems. It can even result in a fatality. Those who have been hurt in an auto accident will want to attempt to make certain there is a full accident investigation to determine the cause and may need to move forward with a legal filing for compensation.

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Michael J. Gaffney, Attorney at Law
1164 Victory Blvd.
Staten Island, NY 10301

Phone: 347-286-1937
Fax: 718-447-9908
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