Australian roads are a dangerous place and while vehicles may be getting safer, the actions of people behind the wheel remain as risky as ever.
The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development revealed that 2015's road toll was almost 5 per cent higher than the figures recorded in 2014, with more than 1,200 people dying on the country's roads in the previous 12 months.
However, although modern cars are much safer than their ancestors and come equipped with an almost overwhelming array of different technologies, people aren't making the most of them. With new research revealing that drivers are actively turning some of these systems off where possible, the need for car accident lawyers is likely to increase.
How are people reacting to new safety developments?
Automotive safety has changed. Where original efforts in this field were created with the intention of limiting the injuries people sustained in the event of an accident, the new wave of technologies seeks to prevent accidents from happening in the first place.
While this may be the manufacturer's intention, a recent study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that people are circumventing these systems. As these technologies are intended to limit the impact of human error, turning them off makes the roads a much more dangerous place.
Researchers from the IIHS investigated a range of consumer-owned Hondas which come with both lane departure warning assist and forward collision detection as standard. Both of these technologies were proven to reduce the chances of accidents occurring by the IIHS.
Of the 184 individual vehicles the researchers surveyed, only a third of vehicles had their lane departure warning activated and just a single car had forward collision detection turned on.
According to IIHS Senior Research Scientist Ian Reagan, many drivers are turning these systems off because they find them to be intrusive and annoying.
"Lane departure warning has the potential to prevent a lot of the most serious crashes," he explained. "However, if people consider it a turn-signal nanny, they may not accept the feature."
The study also noted that motorists are going through a lot of effort to turn these systems off, making their cars much less safe as a result.
Contact the lawyers at Gerard Malouf and Partners if you have a car accident compensation claim you need assistance with.