Especially in a state like California that loves technology, cars that have systems built in which can help drivers do a lot of basic safety tasks, like brake or maintain a steady cruising speed, are all the rage. These vehicles are in theory supposed to help drivers avoid accidents and, as an added bonus, conserve energy by preventing fluctuations in speed and jerky starts and stops.
However, a recent report prepared by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which was covered and summarized by a major media outlet, has suggested that these driver assist systems might not be all they promise.
For one, in some model types, these vehicles collided with a large balloon in their path even though automatic braking was activated and the vehicle was only traveling at about 30 miles per hour. While the vehicles slowed down, they did not stop completely in order to avoid a crash. Interestingly, one vehicle was able to stop when its automatic cruise control was on.
Likewise, all but one model of vehicle failed to stop completely for a car that had stopped in front of it.
The bottom line is that while these electronic features, although certainly very useful, simply aren't to the point of being perfect, meaning drivers who used them can only rely on them for aid. Vehicles with these features are not self-driving, and a driver has to be available to override them at any point.
As cars get more and more autonomous, there are going to be questions that arise as to whether a victim should file a conventional personal injury suit against a negligent driver or should file a products liability case against the manufacturer of a car that was supposed to work one way but did not do so. Until the technology gets more advanced, though, drivers in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas bear ultimate responsibility to drive safely and avoid accidents.