A study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that many drivers in Georgia and across the U.S. confuse advanced driver assistance systems with autonomous vehicle operation. Despite its name, ADAS is not meant to replace drivers. Of the five levels of automation, ADAS only achieves level two automated driving. Therefore, drivers are expected to stay alert, keep their hands on the steering wheel and drive like normal.
In the study, over 2,000 drivers were asked what they believe would be safe to do when five different ADAS were engaged. One of them was Tesla's Autopilot. Since the developer names were not given, participants only had the program names to go by. Naturally, many thought that Autopilot would require less operation on a driver's part. Nearly half said it would be safe to drive hands-free with it engaged.
Understanding of safety features like adaptive cruise control and lane centering was found to be faulty. After 80 people watched a video on the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class (falsely advertised at one point as "self-driving"), few were able to understand why adaptive cruise control did not detect a certain vehicle in front. The simple reason was that the vehicle was out of the device's range. Analysts suspect that deceptive marketing and driver ignorance led to the confusion.
However, such confusion cannot excuse a driver from failing to exercise control over a vehicle. When that failure leads to a motor vehicle crash, the driver's auto insurance company will likely find itself facing an injury claim. A victim, for their part, may want a case evaluation first so that they are sure their case is solid. With a lawyer, a plaintiff may have access to third parties like crash investigators. These investigators can help build up the case with evidence.