Training Call to Avoid ADAS-Perpetrated Accidents

An advanced driving skills group is warning the proliferation of ADAS features could increase road accidents without proper training regimes.

The UK’s Institute of Advanced Motorists’ road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, has issued a warning to automakers, dealerships, the UK’s DVSA (Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency) and driving instructors that misunderstanding ADAS’s capabilities could pose a potential hazard. The warning follows the publication of a report by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), How to maximize the road safety benefits of ADAS.

Some of the most widely known ADAS, including adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking systems, lane keeping assist and driver monitoring for drowsiness and distraction recognition, are set to become mandatory in new vehicles from July 2022. Yet, However, awareness and understanding of these systems is generally low among drivers.

The FIA’s report finds that most users do not receive any training when first encountering ADAS but have to rely on information from the user manual and, most alarmingly, by applying a ‘trial-and-error’ method. These are not the first voices calling for promotion of awareness of the short-comings of modern ADAS with auto safety specialists Thatcham Research, Euro NCAP and Global NCA highlighting the confusion existing among most drivers over ADAS in their cars.

Indeed, off-road tests commissioned by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has also found some adaptive cruise control systems installed in leading car brands can actively cause potentially fatal accidents in certain situations. Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Advanced driver assistance systems have the potential to improve road safety but only if used correctly. If used incorrectly, not least without a full understanding of what the systems are and are not capable of, they can have the opposite effect, with potentially worrying consequences for all road users.

“IAM RoadSmart therefore believes the time has now come to include a comprehensive lesson from every car dealer supplying vehicles and further, for more about ADAS to be included in the UK driving test. This is crucial as these tools begin to be supplied as standard on an increasing number of vehicles.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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