Driver-assist systems are supposed to make vehicles safer for motorists in Pennsylvania and across the United States. However, this technology has been blamed for multiple fatal distracted driving traffic accidents in recent years. As a result, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is recommending that automakers add safety features to the systems that require drivers to remain alert and hold the steering wheel while using them.

According to the president of IIHS, increasingly sophisticated driver-assist programs give drivers a false sense of security, which can cause them to become inattentive behind the wheel. For example, there have been multiple fatal crashes involving drivers who failed to pay attention to the road while using Tesla’s Autopilot system. Some believed that it could safely operate the vehicle for them. While driver-assist programs can automatically steer and apply the brakes under certain circumstances, they are not fool-proof and are incapable of replacing a human driver.

To make driver-assist systems safer, the IIHS recommends that automakers begin adding multiple cameras and sensors to monitor the driver’s behavior in the vehicle’s cabin. The organization also urges them to add sensors that require hands on the steering wheel for certain functions and install warning systems that help drivers regain their focus if they become distracted.

Negligent drivers who injure pedestrians, cyclists or other motorists could be held legally accountable in civil court. For example, by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver, an injured victim might be able to obtain a settlement that compensates them for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress, property damage and more. A victim could have their case evaluated by a law firm that handles car accident claims.