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Using more tech to fix distractions by tech is a dangerous cycle

Distracted driving in New York is nothing new. Long before there were smart phones, people became distracted by radio, the AC, food and maps. However, technology has certainly made the problem much worse. Could the answer to this problem be even more tech?

According to the New York Times, distracted driving killed 3,166 people in 2017. Some experts believe that safety tech features may offer a good Plan B for distracted drivers. These features include an automatic stop when the car senses a possible collision or lane departure warning systems. Phone companies, such as Apple and Google, have also taken great pains to reduce distraction by ensuring drivers do not need to take their eyes of the road to answer a phone call or play music.

One irony cited by the article is that by automating shifting gears, technology only made it easier for people to pick up the smartphone. As new technology replaces the need for drivers to do certain things manually, they may start looking for new distractions to fill the time. The longer the ride, the more likely this may become.

One Forbes article warns that when drivers rely on safety tech too much, they may actually become riskier drivers. A study cited by the article shard that installing advanced driver assistance systems could reduce traffic deaths by 30% and all vehicle crashes by 40%.

However, drivers who had these and other safety tech installed often did not know of the car’s limitations. For example, 80% of drivers who owned cars with blind spot monitoring systems installed put way too much in the system. They incorrectly believed the car monitored the traffic behind them or would always detect bicycles, so they took that off their to-do list while driving. In fact, 25% of drivers with this tech installed did not believe they needed to check manually for pedestrians or other vehicles.

Ultimately, drivers need further education on how these systems work or do not work. However, few car companies are about to step up to the plate to explain the inadequacies and in their highly praised safety technology.

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