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AAA Finds Renters Drive Safer Than Car Owners When it Comes to Driver Assistance Technology

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Renters drive safer when it comes to using cruise control and lane assist. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

AAA found people renting cars over the holidays in Central Florida might actually drive safer than the people who own the same cars.

That’s because people using advanced driver assistance technology are more vigilant while testing it out. 

Researchers at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety studied videos of two groups of drivers over a four week period.

AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said they found people who rent a car with cruise control or lane assist stay in a novelty phase when they don’t trust the technology and stay active drivers. 

Jenkins says people who are experienced users of the technology tend to over-rely on it and are twice as likely to engage in distracted driving.

“These technologies-they’re not meant to replace the driver. They’re available to assist the drivers. Drivers just need to remain alert and attentive to the forward roadway at all times. So that’s irregardless of whether these systems are engaged or not.”

But Jenkins says this doesn’t mean theme park enthusiasts renting a car are in the clear-they should still test out any new technology before they get behind the wheel.

“There are different settings for each of these systems. And so you want to make sure that you know exactly what the limitations are before you get behind the wheel and you get into a situation where you could potentially cause damage to your vehicle or even the occupants of the vehicle.”

Other studies of pilots and nuclear technicians found similar results, with people over-relying on automated systems.

If you’d like to listen to the story, please click on the clip above.

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »