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Report reveals safety shortfalls in partially automated cars

Correspondent: Kris Van Cleave

(CBS) - New testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) finds nearly all of the driver assistance systems that they evaluated, the ones that help drive the car, aren't doing enough to monitor the driver's behavior.

"We were disappointed that 11 of the 14 systems we evaluated received a poor rating," stated IIHS President David Harkey. "It can be very dangerous. They are not self-driving vehicles. And so you see people who either intentionally or unintentionally misuse these systems and get themselves into trouble."

The systems are becoming increasingly common in new cars prompting IIHS to launch this first-of-a-kind testing.

Its new ratings assess how well systems monitor the driver and issue alerts, as well as encourage shared control with the driver and react when safety features are disengaged; like a driver taking off their seatbelt.

Of the 14 tested, none earned a top rating.

Just one scored acceptable, the Lexus teammate with advanced drive. Two others were rated as marginal.

Harkey mentioned what needs to change is, "Monitoring both the head, the eyes, as well as the hands to make sure you're ready to take control of the vehicle.

The report comes as lawmaker concern over these driver assistance systems is growing prompting this exchange with NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy.

"If it's only designed to be operated in a certain way that type of environment it should be limited to those environments," stated Homendy.

In a statement to CBS News, automakers say the features, "Help reduce roadway crashes and injuries," but, "This technology is meant to support a human driver operating behind the wheel. It requires the human driver to be attentive and engaged. Not some of the time – but all of the time."

Article Topic Follows: Consumer

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