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Lane-keeping tech could reduce fatigue-related car accidents in North Carolina

| Feb 3, 2012 | Car Accidents |

Every year people get into car accidents in the Fayetteville-area caused by drowsiness, fatigue or inattentiveness. A new, commercially available technology may help reduce the number of those car accidents, but the technology may also present new driving safety issues.

Lane-keeping systems are designed to help drivers stay in their lane, but the technology cannot be relied on 100 percent. A few car companies offer the technology today and Ford offers its “lane-keeping technology” in two of its 2013 models.

Ford’s lane-keeping system uses a camera mounted on the rear-view mirror of the car to analyze whether the driver is within the lane markings of the road. If the driver drifts outside of the lane markings without using the turn signal, the system warns the driver by vibrating the steering wheel. If the driver does not respond to the warning, the lane-keeping system engages the power steering and returns the vehicle to the center of the lane.

So far, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not ruled in favor of the systems, and the agency has likely made that decision because the technology is not perfect. The systems currently have a hard time recognizing lanes through curves and in inclement weather. If the system does not recognize the lane, it cannot help guide the driver.

Even if the technology improves, the director at the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford believes the system could present another problem: risk accommodation. If lane-keeping systems work too well, drivers may compensate by engaging in riskier behavior behind the wheel.

Source: The New York Times, “Trying to Nudge Drowsy Drivers,” Randall Stross, Jan. 21, 2012

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