Shortcomings of Advanced Safety Systems Revealed in New Study | Edmunds

Shortcomings of Advanced Safety Systems Revealed in New Study


ORLANDO, Florida — Consumers should be aware of the shortcomings of advanced safety systems, including blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warning systems, according to a new study by AAA.

"While the systems performed effectively in multiple situations, this evaluation uncovered scenarios where the systems failed to perform as expected," said the study, which was released on Tuesday.

AAA said the "kinks" need to be worked out of the systems.

The study clearly outlined the limitations of the driver-assistance technologies.

Among the findings:

Blind-spot monitoring systems had trouble detecting fast-moving vehicles and alerts were "often provided too late for evasive action," in some situations.

Blind-spot monitoring systems were less effective in detecting motorcycles than passenger vehicles.

Road conditions "were often a problem" for lane-departure warning systems, causing them to "lose track of lane location."

Alerts and warnings can be confusing to the driver.

"With nearly three-quarters of 2014 vehicles offering blind-spot detection and 50 percent offering lane-departure warnings as options, it's key that consumers are educated on how to get the best benefit from these systems," said John Nielsen, AAA's managing director of Automotive Engineering. "AAA's tests found that these systems are a great asset to drivers, but there is a learning curve."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is conducting a 2,800-vehicle study involving crash-avoidance systems from various automakers.

In a July 2014 report, NHTSA noted: "Not all blind-spot monitoring systems have the same detection capabilities or operating conditions."

"In vehicle owner's manuals, many automobile manufacturers state that their systems are designed to detect only highway vehicles, not other objects such as bicycles, motorcycles, humans, or animals," NHTSA said. "Various systems have a threshold speed where if the speed of the equipped vehicle is below the threshold speed, typically ranging from 5 to 20 mph, the system is inactive. Some systems will not detect vehicles passing through blind zones at speeds substantially higher or lower than that of the equipped vehicle. Other systems may not operate when reversing."

Blind-spot monitoring systems and lane-departure warning systems are offered on a wide range of vehicles, including the 2015 Toyota Camry. The optional Technology package for the 2015 Ford Escape Titanium model includes a blind-spot monitoring system.

The top-of-the-line 2015 Honda CR-V Touring, a new trim level, features the first Honda use of two driver-assist technologies. They are collision mitigation braking, which automatically brakes to help the driver avoid or minimize a frontal crash, and lane keeping assist. They are standard on this model, along with forward collision warning and lane departure warning.

Edmunds says: Many dealerships are offering tutorials on these new technologies, so it's worth asking for help if you're investing money in these sophisticated systems.

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