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Driver Assistance Technology Is Helpful But Not Foolproof

Driver Assistance Technology Is Helpful But Not FoolproofEvery year it seems like there’s new automated technology created for cars in order to help prevent accidents. Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) systems are now required in all new cars, and they do cut down on rear-end crashes by a significant amount, but AEB is not infallible. Researchers have found the AEB system will not prevent crashes under certain conditions.

This data means that drivers still need to be vigilant while driving, and that we cannot always rely on AEB or other automatic features to kick in when we think they ought to. In order to avoid as many accidents and crashes as we can, we need to always be aware and alert as we drive. There are simply too many variables and unknowns concerning not just new technology being introduced, but also the situations one can encounter on the road.

Why should we be careful of driver assistance technology?

There are many types of driver assistance technologies these days, including AEBs of varying types, backup cameras, blind spot intervention, adaptive cruise control, and lane centering assistance. While these all can help us to avoid crashes, they are not without their own weaknesses.

A recent Consumer Reports article discusses AEBs after AAA released crash tests showing emergency braking systems don’t prevent all accidents. AAA tested four popular AEB-equipped vehicles, simulating common crash scenarios. A foam dummy was in the car to represent the driver. The results were revealing. Per Consumer Reports:

  • At 30 mph, the tested AEB systems prevented rear-end collisions with the dummy car in 17 out of 20 test runs. In the 30-mph test runs that resulted in a collision, AEB reduced impact speed by an average of 86 percent.
  • At 40 mph, AEB prevented rear-end collisions in only 6 out of 20 test runs and reduced impact speed by an average of 62 percent.
  • In a 30-mph perpendicular collision at an intersection, otherwise known as a T-bone crash, AEB didn’t prevent or lessen the impact of any crashes.
  • AEB also didn’t prevent or lessen the impact of any crashes involving a left turn in front of an oncoming vehicle.

We can see here that sometimes the AEB system reduced impact speed despite being unable to avoid the accident completely. In other instances, the AEB didn’t even attempt to stop the accident, apparently not detecting any incoming cars at intersections.

AAA’s director of automotive engineering and industry relations was surprised, stating, “We expected the systems to not perform well in intersections but were surprised that we didn’t receive a single alert from any of the vehicles in the intersection scenarios.” He went on, commenting, “The capability and sensors are there but need to be tuned for these high risk and complex situations.”

Are there accidents driver assistance technology might not prevent?

While driver assistance technology can be helpful, it should not be the only thing you depend on to avoid being involved in car accidents. These systems are known for being less reliable at high speeds, and seemingly useless at intersections.


Some common accidents that can occur that driver assistance technologies may not be able to prevent include:

  • Rear-end collisions. The tests AAA performed showed us that AEB can assist in preventing crashes at 30mph. At just 40mph, it only prevented about 30% of accidents, slowing down the speed at which the crash happens about 62% of the time. However, many highways have speed limits far over 40mph – more like 55mph to 65mph. High-speed rear-end collisions can be devastating to the occupants in both cars involved. While whiplash is a common rear-end accident injury, when these accidents happen at high speeds, more severe injuries such as traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries can be expected.
  • Intersection collisions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “more than 50 percent of the combined total of fatal and injury crashes occur at or near intersections.”
  • Side-impact collisions. A common accident that occurs at intersections, side-impact collisions, often referred to as T-bone collisions, occur when the front of one car strikes the broadside of another car, usually at high speeds. These crashes pose a significant threat of injury to everyone involved in both cars. Along with traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, the victims of an accident like this will also likely suffer broken bones and lacerations.
  • Wrongful death. As with any car accident, there is always the possibility of not making it out of the crash alive. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “there were 35,766 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2020 in which 38,824 deaths occurred.” Out of those, 1,217 occurred in Tennessee. Only seven other states had a higher fatality count in 2020.

These accidents can leave you severely injured, requiring weeks or months of healing, and tens of thousands of dollars in treatments and hospital visits. Some of these injuries may lead to further complications, and some may end up affecting you for the rest of your life. You shouldn’t have to pay for these damages and injuries if they were caused by someone else’s negligence.

While driver assistance technology such as Automatic Emergency Braking can often make our lives easier, and can even lessen injuries sustained in a crash, or avoid a crash altogether, these technologies still have a long way to go before they’re perfect. The more we rely on them now, however, the more we may find ourselves injured in an accident.

If you have been hurt in a collision that wasn’t your fault, call Wagner Workers Compensation & Personal Injury Lawyers. Our expert car accident lawyers will ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. To schedule an appointment, call us at 423-756-7923, or complete our contact form today. We proudly serve injured clients in Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN and throughout North Georgia.