Motorists need more training if driver assistance systems are to be effective, safety experts warn

A report has found that awareness of assistance systems is low among drivers.

ADAS graphic
ADAS graphic

The automotive industry needs to come together to ensure motorists understand driver assistance systems if they are to be effective, according to a road safety charity.

IAM RoadSmart has made the call to car manufacturers, dealerships, the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency and driving instructors following a report by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

The FIA is best known for governing professional motorsport but also represents the interests of motoring organisations and drivers. A new report called ‘How to maximise the road safety benefits of ADAS’ warns that awareness and understanding of these advanced driver assistance systems is poor among motorists.

Automatic Emergency Braking graphic
(Thatcham Research)

It found that most drivers do not receive any training in how to use these systems and tend to rely on either reading the user manual or, more dangerously, applying a trial and error approach.

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.”

The organisation says it endorses the FIA’s recommendations that drivers should receive better training on how systems work and their limitations, improved performance of ADAS systems, and the introduction of fail-safe alerts should a system stop working.

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