When you next visit a Burlington County car dealership, the salesperson will show you vehicle after vehicle equipped with high-tech features such as automatic emergency braking, lane assist, driver drowsiness monitoring, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, back-up cameras and more. Much more.

Advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) are designed to make driving easier and safer. However, a new study indicates that older seniors (a group at increased risk of involvement in motor vehicle crashes) do not make use of many ADAS.

ADAS reduce workload

“Older adults have a higher rate of vehicle crashes because of degradations in physical, mental and motor capabilities,” said one of the researchers. “With ADAS, some of the mental workload related to driving can be taken off,” adding that the recent study shows that seniors are more comfortable with ADAS when the technologies are explained in instructional videos.

Seniors are more comfortable with the safety-enhancing features when they’re explained in interactive videos rather than in manuals – and also more likely to make use of the tech.

The researchers said that their hope is that automakers can use the study published in the journal “Applied Ergonomic” to create “better video-based training materials for this age group so that senior safety while driving is enhanced.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 18 percent of all car accidents involved drivers 65 years and older. With the population of seniors on the rise, the number of older drivers more likely to be involved in vehicle wrecks is also expected to rise proportionately.

Multitasking difficulties

For many senior drivers, the risk of causing a crash is related to difficulties simultaneously performing multiple driving activities. Example: it can be a struggle for an older driver to engage the adaptive cruise control while paying attention to traffic and looking for a speed limit sign at the same time.

“Videos, we think, are effective because they can be paused, rewound and reviewed multiple times, giving seniors a sense of control over what they are learning and at what pace,” the researcher said.

The study also reinforced existing research that shows that even while properly used ADAS can make driving safer, the technologies can also serve as distractions.

If you or a family member has been hurt in a vehicle collision caused by another driver’s negligence, contact a Mt. Laurel attorney experienced in personal injury litigation.