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Is Adaptive Cruise Control Increasing the Risk of Car Accidents?

Adaptive cruise control (ACC) is an advanced safety system that is offered in many newer vehicles. It is an upgrade from regular cruise control, which allows drivers to set a speed and not have to keep pressing down on the accelerator. Although both features sounds like they are safe and convenient, there may be safety risks involved with the newer systems. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently posted a report claiming that ACC actually increases the risk of car accidents.

ACC allows drivers to set a speed and following distance from the car in front of them. It that car in front slows down, the ACC automatically brakes or slows down as well. Some ACC systems even have cameras and will slow the vehicle down if there are posted speed limit changes or tighter curves in the road.

According to the IIHS, the problems occur when drivers misuse the ACC system. The IIHS found that people often set target speeds that are higher than posted limits because they think that using ACC will safeguard them from crashes. The IIHS reported that ACC can cause speeding. The study looked at 40 drivers in the Boston area who were in ACC-equipped vehicles. The IIHS concluded that drivers using ACC were 10 percent more likely to be involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents than manual drivers.

Are Advanced Safety Systems Effective?

Motor Trend posted that the best adaptive cruise control systems have a stop-and-go functionality that will stop the vehicle when traffic comes to a halt. Other advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) include blind spot detection, tire pressure indicator warnings, automatic emergency braking, and rear-forward collision warnings. Many studies indicate that these systems reduce motor vehicle accidents. Another study by the IIHS showed that vehicles with blind-spot monitoring were involved in 14 percent fewer crashes compared to vehicles without that feature.

ADAS are not perfect, though. For example, when waiting at a multi-lane traffic signal, the blind-spot monitoring system can be mistakenly activated. This can happen when cars that are in adjacent lanes turn in one direction at the same time. This could cause a driver to get surprised and get into a crash. Another problem, which applies to ACC and other features, is user error. Drivers may be overconfident and drive too fast or follow too closely to other motorists. Some also turn off the safety features because they feel they do not need them.

Many experts feel that auto safety features do have benefits as long as the systems are used correctly. An IIHS statistician stated that the safety benefits can be canceled out when drivers misuse the systems. Another important consideration is the cost. ADAS-equipped cars and trucks cost more than other vehicles, including the selling prices, repair, and maintenance costs. Longer repair times are also common, since the systems are more complex. Some people who own or are thinking of purchasing ADAS vehicles may wonder if their auto insurance costs will decrease, but this has not happened thus far.

Is Speeding a Common Problem?

Even with ACC-equipped cars, drivers are still prone to speeding. Another study by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) revealed that 25 percent of fatal car accidents are caused by speeding. In many accidents where speeding was a cause, the speeding goes unreported because of other contributing factors, like drunk driving and distracted driving.

Drivers who speed have less time to come to a stop and react to hazards on the road. They also have less control on icy or wet roads, roads with sand or gravel, and curved roads. Additionally, speeding increases the amount of energy released in a crash, making the impact much stronger. This causes more injuries to vehicle occupants and pedestrians and more vehicle damage as well. Moreover, speeding makes crash safety features like seat belts and airbags less effective.

How are Speeding Drivers Held Accountable?

Not all speeding drivers get pulled over or end up in accidents. However, speeding motorists can be held accountable if they are caught, especially when their reckless driving causes another person to get hurt. Speeding is against the law, and people who are caught can end up with fines, speeding tickets, and license suspensions. Speeding drivers who cause the death of another person can face potential criminal penalties, such as vehicular manslaughter and wrongful death.

If a motorist is found to be legally liable for causing another person’s injuries, the driver could have to pay out significant monetary damages on top of any fines handed down. Every driver on every road owes the public a duty of care. This includes making responsible decisions while behind the wheel and following traffic laws. Drivers who violate the duty of care and are found to be negligent for causing another person’s physical or emotional harm may also face civil consequences, like a personal injury lawsuit.

The majority of drivers have auto insurance policies that protect them from the monetary consequences of causing accidents, but this does not mean that their responsibilities have ended. If they do not lose their insurance coverage, they will likely see their premiums increase significantly. If the damages they caused are above the policy limits, their personal assets may come into play. In some cases, a liable speeding driver’s money and other personal property might be available to compensate the victim.

What Should I Do After a Speeding Accident?

Anyone involved in a speeding accident should remain at the collision scene. Leaving the scene could lead to criminal penalties. The first step to do is to call 911 and to provide the operator with information about any injuries as well as the location of the crash. The cars should be moved to a safe location if they present any hazards to other road users. An ambulance may be sent if anyone is hurt, and when the police arrive, they will ask questions and take down information. The police should provide details about how to obtain a copy of an accident report, which is important to have for a future claim.

The drivers should exchange information, including their licenses and insurance cards. Taking photographs of license plates, vehicle damage, injuries, road conditions, and anything else that describes the scene will provide helpful evidence for the insurance claim or potential lawsuit. The auto insurance company should also be called, but they should only be given facts without elaboration. Admitting fault to anyone involved is never a good idea.

If medical care is required, careful record keeping is essential. Copies of diagnoses, treatment plans, follow-up care documentation, and medical bills should all be kept together in a file. If there is damage to the vehicle, it is recommended to take it to an independent mechanic or body shop for an estimate. Although insurance companies usually recommend their own shops, having a second opinion is a good idea. For additional help with a lawsuit, a car accident victim should retain a lawyer.

Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Offer Trusted Legal Guidance to Clients Involved in Speed-Related Collisions

Advanced auto safety features are helpful if they are used properly. If you were injured by a speeding driver, reach out to one of our experienced Delaware car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Our legal team will investigate the cause of the accident, evaluate the harm that was caused, and design a strategy to obtain the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call us at 302-888-1221 or complete our online form. Located in Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including Dover, Newark, and Middletown.