Cars are starting to show up on the market that have fairly advanced driver assist systems. These are systems that can take control of certain aspects of vehicle operation. A couple of examples of things such systems can include are adaptive cruise control and auto braking.

Among the things such systems are aimed at is helping drivers stay safe on the road and avoid crashes. A recent report cautions though that, while such systems can help with many safety situations, they are not without shortcomings.

The report was by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and was based on tests that the organization performed on the driver assist systems of four different car brands. Overall, five systems were tested. The systems are generally considered to be among the top ones currently out on the market.

The tests found that, while these systems can help with many aspects of accident avoidance, there are circumstances under which they can fail. Among the failures that were seen in the tests were: straying from the lane, failure to stop in time and failure to respond to stopped vehicles. According to the report, there are situations in which the systems could even be at risk of steering a vehicle into a collision.

The report underscores the importance of drivers having proper expectations about what driver assist systems can and can’t do. It is important to remember that such systems are meant to assist drivers, not be a replacement for drivers giving their attention to driving in a safe and responsible manner. So, drivers should make sure to stay properly alert behind the wheel, whatever technology their vehicle has.

The potential for driver assist systems to fail also raises some unique legal issues. This includes issues regarding where liability would lie in accidents that involve circumstances in which driver assist systems fail. One wonders what will happen with these issues as such systems become more widespread in their use.

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