California drivers may be aware that there are five levels of automated driving with five denoting a fully automated vehicle. Current vehicles offer Level Two automation, which means they can take over acceleration and braking, provide lane-keeping assistance and adjust the cruise control, but not entirely without driver input. Such vehicles have driver-assistance systems.
These systems are being increasingly scrutinized as more and more drivers in Level Two automated cars have been involved in crashes. Now, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has come out with a list of recommendations to address the greatest safety risk that these vehicles pose: the risk of making drivers inattentive.
Many drivers overestimate driver-assistance systems and think they can distract themselves, especially on their phones, while the car supposedly drives itself. To make matters worse, many of the systems only require steering wheel input to continue operating. The IIHS states that more ways for detecting driver inattention should be added.
The non-profit gave three recommendations in particular for keeping drivers focused. One is to install cameras facing the driver. Another is to install sensors that can analyze manual adjustments to the steering wheel and determine drivers’ response times. The third is to have a series of alarms go off when it’s clear the driver is distracted.
Drivers can grow inattentive for any number of reasons. Even something as simple as looking at a billboard or daydreaming can constitute inattentive driving, which is a form of negligence. Therefore, victims of car accidents who find out the other side was distracted might have good grounds for a personal injury case. With a lawyer, they may strive for a settlement covering their medical expenses, vehicle repair costs, pain and suffering and other losses. The lawyer might hire investigators to help gather evidence.