It is reasonable to assume that we all want our cars to be as safe as possible. It is equally reasonable to expect carmakers to be cognizant of driver safety with every new feature they introduce. Those two expectations lead us to believe that the latest safety technology in our cars is automatically good. But is it? Or is technology leading us down a slippery slope of litigation?
Today's cars boast impressive features like lane assist, assistive braking, collision warning systems, blind spot warnings, etc. Each new technology is purported to make driving safer by reducing human error. Yet things are not what they appear. There could be underlying problems with car safety systems that actually contribute to crashes rather than help prevent them.
Any such crashes could be litigated on two fronts. First is the personal injury front in which a plaintiff goes after a defendant who may have been distracted by technology. Second, a case could be litigated under product liability. A plaintiff could allege that a car company's technology was directly responsible for an accident and the injuries that came from it.
The Majors Firm, a law firm in Rockwell, Texas specializing in personal injury, explains that car accident cases are already difficult enough. Future cases could be further complicated when the question of safety technology is thrown into the mix.
Technology Can Be Distracting
One of the biggest arguments against modern safety technology is that it can be distracting. Imagine driving a car packed full of every safety feature imaginable. A trip that used to be enjoyed in quiet solitude is now interrupted by a plethora of flashing lights and warning sounds. Such distractions could actually cause an accident.
Warning lights and beeping sounds are not the only problem. Backup cameras can cause problems by commanding a driver's attention to the extent that he or she does not see something happening in front of the vehicle. Something as seemingly benign as lane assist could lead to an accident by not accounting for the fact that a driver is intentionally moving to one side rather than simply drifting.
There is also the issue of age. Older drivers not raised on technology often find it more of a hindrance than a help. They are the most likely group of drivers to find safety features distracting. Throw in the fact that older people sometimes have trouble understanding how technology works and you have a recipe for disaster on the highways.
A Lack of Concentration
The distracting nature of safety technology is concerning enough. However, there is a bigger issue that may not manifest itself for years to come. What is the issue? The very real risk of safety technology leading to a loss of concentration.
It used to be the drivers had to learn to parallel park in order to get a license. Not only do some states no longer have that requirement, but technology is now delivering cars that can park themselves. Sounds like a good idea, right? It might be a great idea until a driver kills a pedestrian after not paying attention while his or her car parks itself.
Technology has a way of making us feel too safe. It has a way of making us so confident in the outcome of a particular event that we stop paying attention to potential pitfalls. Safety technology in cars could lead us to a point where we rely on it too much to keep us safe. It is a slippery slope that could result in more car accidents, more injuries, and more litigation.