Modern motor vehicles are increasingly including technological features that are changing the nature of transportation. Semi-autonomous driving features continue to make their way into vehicles on Minnesota roadways, bringing many advantages but also raising some new kinds of safety concerns. Many drivers are unaware of the capabilities and limitations of these technologies, and that can lead to car accidents.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a survey of more than 2,000 people, asking about their knowledge of the driver assistance technologies on the market. The IIHS concluded that drivers generally have very little idea about the systems’ capabilities.

The study asked drivers about level two assistance technologies. There are five levels. Level five is a vehicle that is entirely self-driving; level two technologies are less autonomous and require the driver to remain alert behind the wheel. The systems included in the IIHS study were the Traffic Jam Assist programs from Acura and Audi, the Super Cruise by Cadillac, the ProPilot Assist by Nissan, Tesla’s Autopilot and the Driving Assistant Plus by BMW.

Among the findings were that the Autopilot title misled drivers into thinking they could pay less attention while driving. That is not the case. More people thought they could pay less attention with Tesla’s system than the others, but people overestimated the capabilities of the technologies in all five cases.

Misusing technology features in motor vehicles can lead to accidents. In Minnesota, people who are injured in car accidents might be entitled to monetary recovery for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical bills or other damages. An attorney who has experience practicing personal injury law might be able to help in such cases by identifying parties who may be liable or by interviewing witnesses and building a case for trial. An attorney may be able to put together claims and negotiate a settlement with insurance companies.