Less distracted drivers might not have extra assistant driving features

State Farm’s “Smart Cars” and Dumb Driving 2019 Distracted Driving Survey studied if vehicles with adaptive cruise control features and lane keeping assistant features helped drivers not be distracted and the results are surprising.

Drivers in older vehicles without all that state-of-the-art technology might be less distracted.

Houston State Farm owner agent Chris Hamilton said they wanted to see if these "safer" vehicles had an impact on distracted driving.

"Those individuals who have adaptive cruise control or lane-keeping assistant technology within their automobile, they're more likely, actually, to distract themselves," said Hamilton. "You would think that it would be the opposite, but we actually have seen that more people are distracting themselves more so whenever they have the technology inside those vehicles.”

He said they found drivers were texting, using apps, using video chat, holding phones while talking and even manually entering phone numbers.

Hamilton added drivers still need to stay engaged when behind the wheel. New vehicle technology is there to assist the driver, not replace the driver.

Forty-two percent of drivers with Lane Keeping Assist tech stated they “frequently” or “sometimes” use video chat while driving compared to 20 percent who engaged in the risky behavior without the advanced technology. Half of all respondents also said they would be willing to take their eyes off the road for less than five seconds to focus on another task.

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