Automobile technology is improving at a rapid pace. And car manufacturers focus heavily on advertising the newest safety features available. Until or unless fully automated vehicles become a reality, many of these safety features are focused on correcting for human error and saving us from our own mistakes.

If you’ve purchased a car in the last few years, you may have sought out a vehicle with features such as lane-keeping assistance or automatic braking/steering in response to collision risks. These are impressive features, to be sure, but how well do they actually work? According to a recent study by AAA, the answer is: not well enough.

Earlier this month, AAA released the results of a study in which it tested these types of features – known collectively as active driving assistance (ADA) systems – over about 4,000 miles of real-world driving conditions. According to the study, ADA systems experienced problems an average of every eight miles.

Problems included:

  • Disengaging suddenly and with very little warning, forcing drivers to take back control immediately
  • Lane-keeping systems that failed to keep the vehicle in its lane
  • Lane-keeping systems that failed to prevent the vehicle from coming too close to guard rails or other vehicles
  • Collisions in 66 percent of closed-course simulations where the driving vehicle came upon a simulated disabled vehicle

ADA systems don’t absolve drivers from the responsibility to pay attention and drive defensively. These are not self-driving cars, after all. But the fact that these features are heavily advertised and touted by automakers could be giving car owners a false sense of security. And in some cases, such as when the ADA systems suddenly disengage, the technology may actually be causing crashes rather than preventing them.

If you’ve been in a serious car wreck due to another driver’s negligence, a defective vehicle, or both, please contact our firm to discuss your rights and legal options with an experienced personal injury attorney.