New study suggests driver-assistance tech leads to more distracted driving

Tesla Autopilot

Tesla vehicles are well known for their driver assistance technology like traffic aware cruise control, Autopilot, self-parking, and the ability to automatically change lanes, meant to make driving safer. And those claims are borne out by the statistics showing that the number of crash-like events are significantly lower when using Autopilot than when not.

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Now new research from AAA suggests that when drivers regularly use driver-assistance technology, they are far more likely to be distracted behind the wheel.

The latest figures show that 93% of all new vehicles today have at least one advanced driver-assistance feature, and when those features are being used, drivers are twice as likely to be distracted compared to when those features are off.

Related: Can you get ticketed for using your display in your Tesla in BC? Maybe

AAA researcher William Horry told CBS that he believes drivers are zoning out when features are active. “Yeah, I think we’re seeing some evidence of that. These technologies can actually really make it seem as though the vehicle has got these different aspects of driving covered, and so, that can lull you into this false sense of security.

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Their research also found that drivers who were new to the assistance technology were less likely to show signs of distracted driving, suggesting that while they’re learning the boundaries of the systems, they’re less likely to trust them.

Related: Saskatchewan drivers will soon face more than double the fine for distracted driving

While Tesla’s Autopilot system is the most advanced driver-assistance technology on the market today, you still have to pay attention, have your hands on the wheel, and be ready to take over control of the vehicle at any time.

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