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AAA Foundation shows how distracting car safety systems can be

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has a study out that shows how distracting the safety features on newer vehicles can be. Drivers in New Jersey should know that smartphones are far from the only source of distraction: Anything that causes a driver to become inattentive is a distraction, including eating and drinking.

The study focuses on two features, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, because many drivers are overestimating the abilities of these technologies to keep them safe on the road. What the former does is adjust a vehicle's speed to maintain a safe following distance. The latter prevents lane drifting. In neither case does the car become self-driving. Drivers are still required to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes open to their surroundings.

Strangely enough, the study found that those who were less familiar with these two features were not as likely to become distracted. Ultimately, automakers need to do better in raising awareness of the limitations of car safety tech. Such tech is not meant to replace drivers.

A wide range of cars, including the Tesla Model S, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonata, were analyzed for the study. The study backs up the conclusions of earlier studies showing how in-car touchscreen systems and infotainment systems are a source of distraction.

Though distracted driving is contributing to more motor vehicle accidents, it can be hard to prove in some cases because drivers can easily lie about their actions prior to a crash. This is one challenge that may face any crash victims filing a claim. In New Jersey, only those who suffer serious injuries or disabilities can file a third-party insurance claim, so it may be wise for victims to see a lawyer before moving forward.

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