Most American drivers, including those in Louisiana, don’t fully understand the limitations of collision avoidance systems on new cars and trucks, according to a new study. As a result, many of them overestimate the capabilities of these technologies, potentially placing themselves and others at risk.

The study, conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, found that a significant portion of drivers don’t understand that they need to stay alert and continue to practice basic safety rules when operating a vehicle with collision avoidance technologies. These include automatic emergency braking and blind spot monitoring systems and adaptive cruise control.

For example, AAA researchers found that more than 40 percent of drivers don’t know the difference between automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning systems. The former actually applies the brakes to avoid a collision while the latter only warn drivers about impending collisions. Meanwhile, 80 percent of drivers believe blind-spot warning systems are able to detect more vehicles, objects and people than they actually can. As a result, about 25 percent of drivers no longer bother to look for oncoming traffic before they change lanes. Finally, around 29 percent of drivers admit to “engaging in other activities” after activating their vehicles’ adaptive cruise control, trusting the system to safely operate their vehicles on its own.

Collision avoidance systems require the complete attention of a vehicle’s driver in order to work properly. Drivers who become distracted behind the wheel or are willfully overreliant on a vehicle’s safety technology could cause a severe crash. Victims injured in such an accident may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. An attorney familiar with car accidents could review a victim’s case and help prepare the claim.