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Distracted driving crashes killed 3,166 people in Massachusetts and across the U.S. in 2017. While there are safety systems that can respond to distracted behavior in drivers, their effect is being counteracted by other tech. Semi-autonomous cars are, in fact, creating more distractions for their drivers.

The reason is simple: Drivers feel safer in semi-autonomous cars, and as a result, they become complacent. Complacent drivers let their guard down and develop unsafe habits, thinking that the car will step in for them if they face any dangers. The reality, though, is that semi-autonomous cars only assist drivers, not replace them.

The Journal of Safety Research has found that drivers in semi-autonomous cars tend to have slower reaction times. This is a clear sign of inattention behind the wheel. Distraction, however, is not the sole problem. The technology itself is still far from perfect.

In particular, AI programs on semi-autonomous cars can experience a lag of one or two seconds while sifting through the data that each road situation presents. That may not sound like a long time, but it makes a big difference at high speeds. The cameras and sensors may malfunction, and bad weather could negatively impact the navigation service.

When distracted driving is behind motor vehicle accidents, those who were injured may be able to file a claim. With Massachusetts being a no-fault state, most accident victims should have their losses covered by their own insurance company. Those whose injuries meet a certain threshold may file a third-party insurance claim to be compensated for non-monetary damages. To see if they can proceed with such a claim, victims might want a legal evaluation. A lawyer may assist with the gathering of evidence.