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Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

More and more, drivers are recognizing the value in having vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), like blind spot monitoring (BSM), forward collision warning (FCW) and lane keeping assist (LKA). While many of these technologies are rapidly being offered in newer vehicles, many drivers are unaware of the safety limitations of the systems in their vehicles. Lack of understanding or confusion about the proper function of these ADAS technologies can lead to misuse or overreliance on the technology, which could result in a deadly crash.

Prevent Crashes

Research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that available ADAS technologies could prevent approximately 37 million crashes, 14 million injuries, and nearly 250,000 deaths over the next 30 years. This would represent 16% of crashes and injuries and 22% of deaths that would otherwise occur on U.S. roads without these technologies.

For the safety of motorists, it is important that automakers play a greater role in educating new car buyers about the ADAS technologies in vehicles. However, the training and effective educational resources that drivers need today, is not currently available. AAA is sharing this new research with vehicle manufacturers, car dealerships and other stakeholders to help spur the development of effective educational tools that will benefit car buyers. Strong consumer education about vehicle technology needs to become as much of a priority for automakers as making the sale.

Before Leaving the Lot

Drivers should understand their technology’s features, functions and limitations before driving off the lot, in order to reduce misuse or overreliance on the systems. AAA encourages drivers to:

  • Read up: Read your owner’s manual to learn what systems are installed in your vehicle.
  • See it in action: Insist on an in-vehicle demonstration and test drive to better understand how the systems will engage on the roadway.
  • Ask questions: Ask plenty of questions about the alerts, functions, capabilities and limitations of the vehicle’s safety technologies before leaving the dealership. For example, ask if there are scenarios when a technology will not function properly on the road.


Visit our Newsroom to see the latest in automotive research.

The following chart outlines some examples of previous research evaluating vehicle safety technology and drivers’ attitudes and understanding about the benefits, function and limitations of ADAS technology in their vehicle.


AAA & AAA Foundation Studies Study Objective
AAA Foundation & U of Iowa (Sept. 2018):

Vehicle Owners’ Experiences with and Reactions to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

Bottom line findings:

Drivers largely indicated ADAS technologies were important and increase safety, but were still not fully grasping system functions and limitations.

Understand Vehicle Owner/Lessee:
  • Purchase behavior and intent
  • Attitudes regarding the system
  • System learning/training
  • Knowledge of system purpose, functions, and limitations.
AAA Automotive (Annual Study):

Autonomous Vehicle Technology Survey

Bottom line findings:

In April of 2018, consumer trust in autonomous vehicles eroded following high profile incidents involving these types of vehicles. Three-quarters (73 percent) of American drivers reported they would be too afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, up significantly from 63 percent in late 2017. 

Understand consumer attitudes towards autonomous/semi‐autonomous vehicles:
  • Are U.S. drivers comfortable with the idea of riding in a self‐driving car?
  • Are U.S. drivers likely to want semi‐autonomous technology on their next vehicle?
  • Do U.S. drivers trust today’s vehicle technology to work as designed?


AAA Automotive (Aug 2016):

Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)

Bottom line findings:

Automatic emergency braking systems vary widely in design and performance.

Understand the capabilities and limitations of automatic emergency braking systems:
  • How automakers implement safety technology
  • Effectiveness of systems
  • Types of crashes avoided/mitigated by technology
  • Consumer options & cost
AAA Automotive (Dec 2015):

Rear Cross Traffic Alert Systems

Bottom line findings:

AAA tested rear cross traffic alert systems, designed to alert drivers to traffic passing behind a reversing vehicle, and found significant system limitations exist when parked between larger vehicles, such as SUVs or minivans.

Understand the potential limitations of rear cross traffic alert systems:
  • Research the system’s ability to detect vehicles, motorcycles, pedestrians and bicyclists
  • Evaluate performance of various systems in alerting the driver or braking the vehicle.
AAA Automotive (Sept 2015)

Parking Assist Technology

Bottom line findings:

AAA tested park assist technology to better understand how automakers implement this feature and whether systems are capable of parking more accurately than a non-assisted driver.

Understand how park assist systems benefit consumers:
  • How well do park assist systems function compared to a non‐assisted driver?
  • How well does park assist technology work in real‐world parking scenarios?
AAA Automotive (May 2014)

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

Bottom line findings:

AAA examined ADAS technology and found that the systems had varying degrees of performance depending on the driving environment.

Understand how adaptive cruise control and autonomous braking function:
  • Evaluate the system’s ability to recognize other vehicles and adjust speed accordingly
  • Assess the system’s ability to detect various obstacles between vehicles.
AAA Automotive (Dec 2014)

Blind spot monitoring and lane departure

Bottom line findings:

AAA examined these systems and found that while they have potential safety benefits, drivers must remain fully engaged in the driving task.

Understand the limitations of blind spot monitoring and lane departure:
  • How do these systems perform in real-world driving environments:  interacting with other vehicles, motorcycles and road conditions.
  • Do drivers know how the systems work and understand how to interact with them?