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IIHS: driver-assist tech must better ensure drivers' attention

Florida residents who own a car with driver-assist technology should know that the features have been put under much scrutiny by regulatory bodies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Studies have shown that driver-assist systems are causing drivers to over-rely on them and become inattentive. Many are unaware that the systems provide only Level Two automation and not Level Five. In other words, the cars are not self-driving.

In a recent report, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that these systems must be made so that they keep a driver engaged on driving at all times. Most systems fail in this regard as they only require some steering wheel input to continue operating. Drivers can easily distract themselves even with a hand on the wheel.

The IIHS has made three recommendations for improving the tech. One is to add other ways of detecting distraction, such as driver-facing cameras. The second is to install sensors that determine drivers' reaction times based on how quickly they take hold of the steering wheel. The third is to set off a series of alarms when drivers become inattentive.

Driver-assist tech has been linked with many crashes, some fatal. In March 2018, a Tesla Model X driver died in a crash after engaging Autopilot and playing a mobile game behind the wheel.

Florida residents who are injured by a distracted driver can usually obtain the compensatory damages they are entitled to with their own insurance company. In the case of serious injuries, though, victims may file a third-party insurance claim. This may require a crash reconstruction, so victims may want to hire a lawyer. Most personal injury lawyers have a network of professionals, including crash investigators, who can help bolster a case with the necessary evidence. A lawyer may also handle all negotiations.

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