In Indiana and across the U.S., drivers of semi-autonomous vehicles are becoming distracted because they do not know the limitations of their driver-assist systems. While fully autonomous vehicles would provide Level Five automation, current vehicles only provide Level Two automation. Another problem is that these systems continue operating as long as there is some steering wheel input, easily allowing for distractions.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released a report saying that driver-assist tech must do more to engage drivers both physically and mentally. To this end, the safety non-profit gives three recommendations. First, the systems should have other ways of checking for distraction, such as driver-facing cameras. Second, they should be able to measure drivers’ reaction times with steering wheel sensors. Third, they should alert distracted drivers with a series of alarms.
This is not the first time that driver-assist technology has come under scrutiny. Congress and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have looked into the safety concerns regarding it. More than a few crashes have been tied to the tech, such as a fatal crash in March 2018 that involved the driver of a Tesla Model X who had the vehicle on Autopilot. Investigators found out that the driver had been playing a mobile game at the time of the crash.
Those who are injured in motor vehicle crashes because the other driver was distracted can pursue a claim. Plaintiffs 50% or less at fault can recover damages in this state, but their degree of fault will proportionally lower the damages they do recover. A successful personal injury claim may cover losses like vehicle repair costs, medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. In their effort to ensure a strong case and a fair settlement, victims may want to have the assistance of a lawyer throughout the process.