I-Team: Do drivers rely too much on technology?

Many cars on the road now have advanced systems designed to keep you safe. (WGME)

PORTLAND (WGME) – Technology is changing the way we drive.

Many cars on the road now have advanced systems designed to keep you safe.

This technology is often known as advanced driver assistance systems, things like blind spot monitoring, but new research shows drivers may misunderstand and misuse that technology, which could lead to a crash.

Video from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows how blind spot warning technology works.

When another vehicle is in a blind spot, the system warns the driver with a visual alert.

“Technology is advancing so fast; making changes that will help with safety,” AAA’s Pat Moody said.

Safety experts say "advanced driver assistance systems" have the potential to prevent 30 percent of traffic fatalities.

According to research, blind spot warning technology alone can help prevent 318,000 crashes a year and 274 deaths.

“There's all kind of technology out there that's being introduced in our vehicles,” Moody said.

But AAA says many drivers are unaware of the safety limitations of new technology.

Research by its foundation for traffic safety found about 80 percent of drivers with blind spot monitoring technology overestimate what it can do.

“The motorists didn't realize it doesn't recognize pedestrians, cyclists or fast-moving vehicles,” Moody said.

Still, safety groups are working with car makers to expand safety technology.

Twenty different auto brands say they'll make auto emergency braking or "AEB" a standard feature on all new cars by 2022.

As technology changes, AAA says drivers need to be their own best safety advocate.

“The motorist needs to take initiative; read owner’s manual, talk to the dealer, the salesman, understand what the technology is all about and the limitations of it,” Moody said.

Experts say some drivers with new safety technology are also more likely to be distracted behind the wheel or engage in other tasks.

They say drivers should never rely solely on the safety systems.

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