Study finds limitations to auto safety technology

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With the recent wave of technological innovations in auto safety, and the promise of even greater developments to come, a vision is taking shape of a future where human error has been removed from the safety equation. However, that time has not yet arrived, and an over-reliance on these new tools in their present form can actually be dangerous.

Land departure warnings, blind spot detection and lane-keep assistance have tremendous potential for driver safety. However, there have been few tests to study how these tools work in the real world, and the studies that have been done frequently reveal flaws in the new systems.

In one study, researchers from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found troubling situational inconsistencies in lane departure warning and blind spot detection systems. The systems often had trouble detecting motorcycles and fast-moving vehicles, and warnings were often provided too late for evasive action.

The lesson: drivers can use these new safety features as a backup warning system, but they should continue to rely primarily on their own safe driving skills.

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