Does Safety Technology Make Drivers Too Passive?

Published on February 14, 2018, by Matthew Sharp

Car Accident

Does Safety Technology Make Drivers Too Passive?

Safety experts are concerned that increased safety technology in motor vehicles will lead to more auto accidents due to drivers’ complacent behavior and lack of attention to their surroundings. If safety features fail to engage or operate properly, drivers must be prepared to trust their own driving skills to prevent accidents. Innovative car safety technologies are meant to assist drivers, not to replace safe driving habits.

Is Safety Technology Putting Drivers at Risk?

Most new cars come equipped with numerous safety features that help to prevent accidents, but many experts say that vehicle safety technology can make drivers too passive while behind the wheel. Drivers may become too comfortable while driving and rely on safety features rather than good driving skills to prevent accidents. Two major areas of concern are hands-free phone technology and backup cameras. Drivers with hands-free phone technology can talk on the phone and keep their hands on the wheel, but this distracted driving behavior still takes their attention away from the road. Backup cameras are beneficial, but often don’t show other vehicles, pedestrians, and road debris in the camera’s view.

Studies show that drivers want cars that are equipped with the latest safety technology features. In a recent CARFAX study, 87 percent of drivers who were surveyed listed safety features as a major consideration when purchasing a new or used vehicle, especially younger drivers who often rely on technology more than older drivers. Many cars now come with standard safety technology features including:

  • Backup cameras
  • Lane departure warnings
  • Collision assist
  • Blind-spot monitors
  • Drowsiness detection monitors

Although innovative safety technologies are now installed in most new vehicles, auto accidents are still on the rise. According to the National Safety Council, motor vehicle fatalities rose by six percent in 2016, accounting for more than 40,000 deaths in the U.S. This increase in traffic fatalities comes at a time when most cars on the road are equipped with multiple safety features. The current rise in auto accidents, injuries and fatalities demonstrates that new vehicle safety technologies are helpful, but not foolproof solutions for driver safety. Drivers must still practice safe driving techniques and pay close attention to their surroundings on the road.