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Confusing cruise control with self-driving cars

Posted at 8:10 AM, Jun 01, 2018

A scary mix up that could make the roads more dangerous. Student drivers are confusing cruise control with self-driving cars.

A new report from MIT found drivers were 10 percent more likely to text or use their cell phones when cruise control was on. That's 22 percent more than drivers not using cruise control.

The data suggests people don't understand how the self-assist feature works, thinking that it allows them to pay less attention to the road.

Some cars do have more advanced cruise control, which enable the car to alter its speed to match the flow of traffic. Some vehicles also have lane-keeping assist which helps keep vehicles stay in their lanes. However the systems are not fool proof and are not supposed to replace attentive driving.

Part of the cruise control misunderstanding could be related to many people overestimating how far vehicle automation has come.

A study done by MIT and the New England Motor Press Association found 22 percent of Americans think self-driving cars are already being sold, 8.2 percent think they’ve ridden in one.

While driver assistance features are becoming more common, not a lot is known about the connection between vehicle automation and distracted driving. Consumer experts say more research is needed to understand how drivers are using the technology. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 3,450 people were killed due to distracted driving in 2016.