Are New Auto Safety Features Causing More Careless Drivers?

A friend told me that he had a really difficult time trying to buy a new car that was loaded with all kinds of new safety features. He knew that the more computerized safety features a car had, the more things could go wrong and the more those repairs would cost.

Commercials for cars tout these so-called safety features. Some vehicles now come with a sensor that monitors the vehicles ahead of them and adjusts speed accordingly. Other vehicles also monitor the traffic on both sides and works to keep the car in the lane it is driving in. One person I know said that he found such a feature made it difficult to swerve in an emergency to avoid hitting something. Another safety feature automatically applies the brakes to avoid a collision.

All of these features are supposed to keep the driver and occupants in the vehicle, safer, but do they?

One of the growing causes of auto accidents is driver distractions, especially texting or using their mobile phone. Many states have passed laws making it illegal to text and drive, and yet you see many people still texting while driving.

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You can often tell that someone is texting as not only is their head down a lot, but they tend to be slower and/or sway their vehicle from side to side in their lane. I’ve seen texting drivers run stop signs and red lights. A few of those times, the distracted texting driver nearly caused an accident, which was avoided by the awareness and reaction of the other drivers.

My friend said that he didn’t want a new vehicle with these safety features because he believed it would only lead his daughters to believe they could text and drive because the safety features would keep the vehicle in the lane and that it would automatically brake in time to avoid an accident.

I agreed with him and kind of forgot about the conversation until watching a couple of car commercials while watching a baseball game. With each car commercial touting the safety features, the more I realized just how right my friend was.

Many of the new computerized safety features could easily lead to a driver being over confident with their driving skill and their ability to safely text while driving. After all, the car’s computer will watch the road for you.

Is this why we see more and more people with their eyes glued to their phones instead of the road? Ask yourself if these safety features are really improving safety or are they giving drivers a false sense of security, causing them to be more distracted?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

R.L. David Jolly holds a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and an M.S. in Biology – Population Genetics. He has worked in a number of fields, giving him a broad perspective on life, business, economics and politics. He is a very conservative Christian, husband, father and grandfather who cares deeply for his Savior, family and the future of our troubled nation.

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