More likely to speed: Adaptive cruise control users

speed sign on a highway

The auto industry has made significant advances in safety technology, much of which has been made standard in new vehicles. However, a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) indicates that many people are relying on these safety technologies to help them exceed the speed limit.

What is adaptive cruise control?

Many new cars come with a safety feature called adaptive cruise control. Unlike traditional cruise control, which simply locks in a speed, this technology also automatically maintains a certain distance from vehicles ahead. In its study, IIHS found that those who use adaptive cruise control while also using lane departure correction systems are much more likely to speed.

IIHS found that most users of adaptive cruise control technology will set their speed in excess of the speed limit. In fact, motorists drove an average of 63 miles per hour in 55 mile per hour zones. The study authors determined that those who use adaptive cruise control with partial self-driving features increased their risk of a fatal crash by approximately 10 percent, purely due to driving at higher speeds.

crash test dummy

Photo credit: Chicago Tribune

The dangers of speeding

Crash tests have consistently found that even small increases in speed can lead to significantly higher instances of severe injury and death. An IIHS statistician noted “driving faster is more dangerous. You can’t argue with physics.”

New vehicle safety features can provide motorists with a false sense of security and can distance motorists from their personal responsibility to pay attention. Drivers come to expect the vehicle to automatically maintain the lane or safely follow traffic ahead, so they push their speed regardless of roadway conditions.

The law requires motorists to adhere to the speed limit and maintain a proper lookout for other vehicles or other conditions that could affect their driving. Drivers cannot delegate these responsibilities to motor vehicle safety technology. IIHS concluded that more investigation will be required to measure increases in safety with adaptive cruise control technology against drivers’ inclination to speed while using it.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident through no fault of your own, contact Allen & Allen today for a free consultation, at 866-388-1307.