The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently released a paper outlining the dangers of electronic driver-assist systems. The insurance group tested systems from Tesla, Mercedes, BMW, and Volvo on a track and public roads. They found that the systems fail to see stopped vehicles and may even steer drivers into a crash.
Driver-Assist Related Dangers
The Institute’s chief research officer warns that the semi-automated systems put drivers and passengers at risk. While some of the systems increase safety, they are not necessarily reliable. Driver assist systems have been the topic of much debate recently after a pedestrian was fatally injured by a self-driving Uber SUV that failed to stop in time to avoid the accident. The autonomous system failed to recognize the woman crossing the street at night.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently issued a cease and desist order to the manufacturer of Tesla’s Autopilot Buddy. Marketed as an autopilot nag reduction device, the Autopilot Buddy circumvents the driver assist system’s warning mechanism that triggers when a driver’s hands are not on the wheel. The order came after a fatal crash involving Tesla’s driver assist program. Investigations of the crash revealed that the driver did not have his hands on the wheel and that the vehicle accelerated in speed and veered to the left in the six seconds preceding the crash.
IIHS testing of the Tesla Model S and Model 3 revealed that, when adaptive cruise control was off, the cars braked but failed to stop in time to avoid hitting a stationary balloon at 31 miles per hour. However, when the models were tested with the adaptive cruise control and automatic braking activated, they were able to brake in time to avoid the balloon.
Among the vehicles tested, including the Tesla models, BMW 5-Series, Volvo S-90, and Mercedes E-Class, all but the Tesla Model 3 failed to respond to stopped vehicles in front of them. The Institute’s chief research officer says that while these systems were rated superior in previous IIHS tests, they may put drivers and passengers at risk if not handled carefully. Owner’s manuals warn drivers to pay attention and even address many accident scenarios. However, as the chief research officer notes, most people do not read their owner’s manuals in detail.
The BMW, Tesla Model S, and Volvo lane-centering systems also performed poorly, especially on curves or hills, and required frequent driver intervention. After studying Tesla insurance losses, the Highway Loss Data Institute found that while crash avoidance features, like automatic braking, on the Tesla Model S helped to reduce property damage and bodily injury claims, autopilot systems only helped to lower collision claims. According to the IIHS chief research officer, the Institute is developing ratings for driver assist systems and will soon make recommendations for regulations on autonomous vehicles.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Help Victims Obtain Compensation for Their Injuries
If you were injured in a car accident, contact the skilled Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. We will fight to hold the negligent party accountable for your injuries, so that you can begin your recovery. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 803-929-3600 today.
Our attorneys are proud to provide the highest quality legal service and exceptional representation to injured victims and their families throughout South Carolina, including the areas of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.