Advanced driver-assistance systems provide cars with Level Two automation, which means that while they do not provide full automation, they can take over certain functions as long as drivers are still attentive to the road. These functions include braking, accelerating and keeping the car in its lane. Wisconsin drivers may have heard about how ADAS have been linked to many car crashes.

The problem, as reported by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, is that ADAS can become an indirect cause of driver distraction. The reason is that drivers, perhaps not being educated about the limits of ADAS, think that their car is driving itself and so let themselves become distracted. One can see how dangerous this is.

In its report, the IIHS gave three recommendations that may help improve current driver-assist technology. The first is to have multiple methods for detecting driver attention. Most ADAS check only for steering wheel input as an indicator that the driver is attentive, but this is not enough. In-car cameras, for example, may be beneficial.

The second recommendation was that ADAS makers include sensors in the steering wheel that detect manual adjustments. The sensors can then measure drivers’ reaction times and look out for delays. Third, the IIHS says that alarms should be installed to alert those who grow inattentive.

Distracted driving is a widespread yet underreported phenomenon. Because of this, it might not be easy for the victims of motor vehicle accidents to file a claim against a distracted driver. Some forms of distraction, such as phone use behind the wheel, can be proven with phone records, but daydreaming is impossible to prove unless drivers themselves admit to it. Before moving forward with a claim, then, victims may want a legal evaluation.