A recent online survey conducted by State Farm Insurance has shown that Americans who drive vehicles with advanced driver assist features use their smart phones at higher rates than those without the latest tech, and Hillsboro State Farm agent Amatha Farrens told The Times-Gazette she feels the new driver-assisted technology is giving drivers a false sense of security behind the wheel.
“I think people feel safer, like the car is going to correct itself,” Farrens said. “Or that the car is going to somehow let them know if they’re going left of center or something like that, so they’ll have extra time to react, which we know doesn’t happen when you’re driving distracted.”
The survey showed that drivers with vehicles that have Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) or Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) are almost 15 percent more likely to talk, text, flip through apps, and shoot selfies and videos while driving.
The survey also revealed that the four most common behaviors drivers were guilty of included reading or sending messages while driving, interacting with cell phone apps, holding the phone while talking and driving, and manually entering a phone number or texting.
Farrens said she is finding as insurance claims appear in her inbox that people have increasing difficulty putting the phone down while they’re driving.
“When I look at from just auto insurance in general, no matter who the carrier is, this is a nationwide problem,” she said.
She said that as Americans have embraced the smart phone it has become more addictive and controlling in a person’s everyday life, with people afraid they’ll miss a text or email, while at the same time feeling the need to stay connected with social media.
That 6-inch by 3-inch modern day miracle dominates the work world as well, Farrens said, with the traditional nine to five job becoming a thing of the past as people find themselves working after hours and checking texts and emails at all times of the day and night.
She said drivers still need to stay engaged when behind the wheel and that this type of advanced safety technology is there to assist the driver, not replace the driver. She recommended drivers not read or send text messages, not update social media or access the internet, and not talk on the phone when behind the wheel.
“Basically, you’ve got to be smarter than your smart car,” she said.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.