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Consumers don't understand semiautomated cars

In a new report, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety revealed that most drivers in Nevada and across the US don't understand the limitations of semiautonomous vehicles. As a result, many people are misusing the cars' semiautomated features and endangering themselves and other motorists.

For the report, IIHS researchers surveyed over 2,000 drivers about various semiautonomous systems currently on the market, including Acura and Audi's Traffic Jam Assist, Nissan's ProPilot Assist, BMW's Driving Assistant Plus, Tesla's Autopilot and Cadillac's Super Cruise. While designed to assist with some driving activities, these systems all require drivers to remain alert and keep their hands on the wheel of the car. However, researchers found that most of the survey's participants did not understand how the systems worked and misunderstood their capabilities.

According to the report, the names of the systems caused some of the misunderstandings. For instance, the name of Tesla's Autopilot system led nearly 50% of drivers to believe they could take their hands off the vehicle's wheel while the system was engaged. Meanwhile, the way automakers placed instrument clusters on the dash and deceptive advertising campaigns also added to the confusion. Some of the other activities drivers wrongly believed they could do while using semiautomated systems included talking on a cell phone, texting, watching a movie or video and even taking a nap.

Car accidents involving semiautomated vehicles are becoming more common in the US. When drivers misuse semiautomated technology and cause a crash, they could be held legally accountable for any injuries they cause. For instance, an attorney could help an injured victim prepare a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, property loss and other accident-related damages. Victims could learn more about their rights by contacting a law firm for advice.

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