Steve Cohen, executive director at Aviva Canada, told Globe and Mail, “Autonomous emergency braking has been proven to help reduce the amount of collisions leading to fewer injuries and lower claims costs”. So much so that Aviva Canada started to offer a 15% discount for vehicles equipped with autonomous emergency braking.
Automated safety system in cars, such as autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian detection and lane-keeping assist have helped create safer roads and fewer car accidents. Despite that, the human factors play an important role in road safety. SAE International, an international body that rates vehicles on their level of automation, reiterates, despite advances in technology, “the human driver is still in charge”.
Vehicle safety is increasingly interlinked with automated safety systems. Even auto insurers assess vehicles on the basis of their automated safety systems being operational. Hence, personal injury and property damage claims raise questions about the status of the safety systems at the time of the accident. Let us look at how these automated safety systems can be compromised.
- Ignoring warning signs – Automated safety systems employ a number of means to communicate imminent danger. These can include one or more auditory, visual and force feedback signals. Their adequacy and drivers missing or choosing to ignore them can have a bearing on the claim.
- Drivers turning off safety aids – A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a North American vehicle and road safety research group, found nearly 50% of drivers turn off their lane-keeping assist systems. Safety systems such as these are often the basis on which a vehicle’s safety rating has been determined and on which the insurance company has assessed risk (often offering a sizeable discount). By turning off these safety aids, drivers increase the possibility of car accidents.
- Ill-maintained cars leading to disabled systems – Automated safety systems work off a combination of optical and infrared cameras, radar, GPS and the ECU. If these sensors stop functioning – either due to damage or debris – the protective blanket of the respective safety system can be forfeited. A safe and responsible driver will ensure the upkeep of these systems in accordance with their insurer’s stipulations and automakers requirements.
- Running systems outside of their operating window – Autonomous technologies in cars are becoming more sophisticated with every generation. However, there are limits to their operation. Whether it is snow obscuring lane markings or approaching an intersection with a plethora of markings, lane-keeping assist technologies, for instance, may become disabled by overly complicated situations. Having a safety system enabled does not absolve a driver from responsibility for the conduct of the vehicle.
At Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers we have extensive expertise investigating and pursuing claims arising out of car accidents. Whether it is a claim for personal injury or property damage caused by the negligence or misconduct of another road user, our lawyers have the experience to pursue your best options vigorously.
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