Jana Tidwell
Public Relations Manager, PA
O: (302) 299-4426
C: (302) 353-6563
jtidwell@aaamidatlantic.com

Kathleen Zinszer
Sr. Public Aff. Specialist, PA/DE
O: (302) 299-4168
C: (610) 291-7312
KZinszer@aaamidatlantic.com

AAA Mid-Atlantic: Technology - Already in Many Cars – Expected to Save Thousands of Lives a Year

But...drivers don’t really understand what the technology can – and cannot – do 

PHILADELPHIA, PA (Sept. 26, 2018) Analysis of the benefits of technology already in many new vehicles indicates it has the potential to prevent millions of crashes, more than one million injuries and thousands of deaths each year according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. This technology, which includes autonomous braking, forward collision warning and blind spot monitoring, is expected to be standard on most vehicles within the next few years. 

“When properly utilized, advanced driver assistance system technologies have the potential to prevent 40 percent of all vehicle crashes and nearly 30 percent of traffic deaths. Driver understanding and proper use is crucial in reaping the full safety benefits of these systems,” says Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. 

As part of its ongoing traffic safety mission, the AAA Foundation evaluated the potential these popular advanced driver assistance technologies have in helping to reduce or prevent crashes. The findings show that, if installed on all vehicles, ADAS technologies (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) can potentially prevent more than 2.7 million crashes, 1.1 million injuries and nearly 9,500 deaths each year:

ADAS Systems

Crashes

Injuries

Deaths

Forward Collision Warning/Automatic Emergency Braking

1,994,000

884,000

4,738

Lane Departure Warning /Lane Keeping Assist

519,000

187,000

4,654

Blind Spot Warning

318,000

89,000

274

Total Potentially Preventable by all systems

2,748,000

1,128,000

9,496


In Pennsylvania

In 2017, there were 128,188 reportable traffic crashes and 1,137 fatalities in Pennsylvania, according to PennDOT. Nationally, more than 37,400 people were killed in traffic crashes in 2016.

Understand the Technology

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety commissioned researchers from the University of Iowa to survey drivers who recently purchased a 2016 or 2017 model-year vehicle with ADAS technologies. Researchers evaluated drivers’ opinions, awareness and understanding of these technologies and found that most did not know or understand the limitations of the systems:

  • Blind spot monitoring: 80 percent of drivers did not know the technology’s limitations or incorrectly believed that the systems could monitor the roadway behind the vehicle or reliably detect bicycles, pedestrians and vehicles passing at high speeds.
  • Forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking: nearly 40 percent of drivers did not know the system’s limitations, or confused the two technologies- incorrectly reporting that forward collision warning could apply the brakes in the case of an emergency when the technology is only designed to deliver a warning signal. Moreover, roughly one in six vehicle owners in the survey reported that they did not know whether or not their vehicle was equipped with automatic emergency braking.

Work to be Done

While many of these technologies are rapidly being offered as standard, many drivers are unaware of the safety limitations of ADAS in their vehicles. With that in mind, AAA is encouraging automakers and auto dealers to take a more active role in educating drivers about the benefits and limitations of the technology. And, also urging drivers to do their part to ensure that they understand their vehicle’s features.

“New vehicle safety technology is designed to make driving safer, but it does not replace the important role each of us plays behind the wheel,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Automakers have an ethical and important responsibility to accurately market, and to carefully educate consumers about the technologies we purchase in the vehicles we drive off the lot.”

Only about half of the drivers who report purchasing their vehicle from a car dealership recalled being offered a training on the ADAS technology. However, for those who were, nearly 90 percent took advantage of the opportunity and completed the training.

Drivers are their best safety advocate to ensure that they understand their technology’s features, functions and limitations before leaving the lot. In order to reduce misuse or overreliance on the systems, AAA encourages drivers to:

  • Read up: Read your owner’s manual to learn what systems are installed in your vehicle.
  • See it in action: Insist on an in-vehicle demonstration and test drive to better understand how the systems will engage on the roadway.
  • Ask questions: Ask plenty of questions about the alerts, functions, capabilities and limitations of the vehicle’s safety technologies before leaving the dealership. For example, ask if there are scenarios when a technology will not function properly on the road. 

For additional resources, visit AAA.com/DriverAssistanceSystem. AAA’s classroom or online Roadwise Driver course can also help drivers learn more about the functions and limitations of popular ADAS technologies available on new vehicles. 

About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a not-for-profit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit www.AAAFoundation.org.

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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Pennsylvania.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information, visit www.AAA.com.

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