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SPECIAL REPORT: Knowing your car's assisted driving limits

Researchers say if installed on all vehicles, blind spot warning systems can prevent an estimated amount of 318,000 crashes a year.

A report released by AAA with information given from researchers by a team at the University of Iowa's National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) shows advanced driver assistance systems have the ability to prevent 2.7 million crashes if installed on all vehicles. In addition to crashes, they can prevent 1.1 million injuries and close to 9,500 deaths, but researchers are finding those numbers can only be achieved if drivers are well-educated on their systems.

"The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety is showing about a 50% reduction in rear-end collisions," said Dr. Daniel McGehee, the director at the National Advanced Driving Simulator.

Research done at the National Advanced Driving Simulator shows automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning systems are estimated to be able to prevent 1.9 million crashes and more than 4,000 deaths. When taking a survey from drivers, researches noted one of the issues is that drivers confuse these assisted systems with automated systems, where everything is done by the vehicle itself. While technology is headed in the autonomous direction, it's not the case yet.

"You never know when the system might fail. You always need to be ready to take over," said Cher Carney, a senior research associate at the National Advanced Driving Simulator.

The research teams says each system has its own limitations. Many of the systems that use sensors cannot accurate detect vehicles passing when driving at very high speeds. It's why drivers using assisted systems are encouraged to continue using the technology as if they were still driving themselves, instead of depending on the car to act autonomously.

"Their job is still to drive the car. These systems can help assist them in driving," said Dr. McGehee.

Within a few years, researchers say manufactures will build all vehicles with some of these systems. Dr. McGehee says one good way to learn about any limitations is to read a car's manual.

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