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IIHS finds shortcomings in vehicle automatic safety systems

Consumers shopping for new vehicles in Missouri will discover that many new models offer crash avoidance systems. These are meant to prevent drifting out of lanes, maintain safe distances and apply brakes when a collision appears imminent. Although automakers might market these features with the term "autopilot," testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety detected problems that would require drivers to pay attention at all times.

The institute tested vehicles from Mercedes, BMW, Volvo and Tesla. According to the IIHS report, the safety systems created risk for drivers and passengers in certain situations. For example, Tesla Model S and Model 3 did not avoid a crash when automatic braking was on but adaptive cruise control was off. In the tests, the vehicles hit a stationary balloon meant to represent an immobile vehicle.

Systems that keep vehicles centered on their lanes exhibited problems as well. Models from BMW, Volvo and Tesla tended to cross lane lines when navigating curves or hills. Attentive drivers have the ability to correct these problems, but they cannot rely solely on autonomous systems. An analysis of insurance losses on Tesla vehicles performed by the Highway Loss Data Institute showed that crash avoidance systems lowered claims for property damage and bodily injury.

A reduction in the severity of injuries represents progress for safety systems, but drivers remain responsible for the safe operation of vehicles. A person hurt in a car accident with a negligent driver might benefit from legal representation. An attorney may examine the applicable insurance policy and meet with the insurance adjuster to counteract attempts by an insurer to offer an inadequate settlement that does not cover the person's medical bills and lost income. If a responsible party proves uncooperative, an attorney may be able to present the personal injury claim in court.

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