Picture of driver with many lights on his vehicle dashboard
Read how to gain the greatest benefit from Advanced Driver Assistance Systems without incurring Driver ADAS Impairment.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) have revolutionized driver safety in the past 20 years, and auto manufacturers add more advanced safety features to vehicles every model year. To maximize the benefits of ADAS, it must be used correctly.  Unfortunately, drivers unfamiliar with ADAS capabilities can become confused, causing mistakes, second-guessing, hesitation, and even panic. We call this state of confusion, Driver ADAS Impairment.


How to Prepare Drivers for ADAS?

Companies need to make drivers aware of the risk associated with Driver ADAS Impairment and prepare drivers to operate vehicles with ADAS technology. Provide driver training that helps drivers remain ready to respond to road situations where ADAS is engaged.  Training should include:

  • ADAS system overview
  • Specifics about ADAS features
  • Limitations of ADAS
  • Ongoing communications about ADAS-related safety changes


What are Examples of Driver ADAS Impairment?

Even the best safety technology demands total driver commitment to understanding and accepting the proper use of the ADAS. Ignorance of ADAS capabilities and its limitations, or the over-reliance of systems both define Driver ADAS Impairment.

  • Panicked Reactions to Pre-Collision Warnings
    Pre-collision warnings and cross-traffic alerts need immediate attention. If a driver who uses the rear parking assist and backup camera is unfamiliar with the frequency of the alert, panicked reactions – such as hitting the accelerator instead of the brake, can lead to a crash.
  • Lane Departure Warnings Leads to Driver Complacency
    Drivers may rely too heavily on lane departure warning systems, assuming that they will always detect when the car is drifting out of its lane. This can lead to complacency and a failure to pay attention to the road ahead, potentially causing accidents.
  • Misunderstanding how Automatic Emergency Braking Works
    Some drivers falsely believe that automatic emergency braking systems will prevent all accidents. That misunderstanding can lead them to drive faster and pay less attention to their surroundings. Automakers are clear that any system may not always work as intended. Drivers relying on them completely (without time for driver involvement) is dangerous.
  • Over-Reliance on Rearview Cameras
    Over-reliance or haphazard reliance of rearview cameras can lead to collisions, injuries, or worse. Drivers may ignore other vital information, such as the presence of pedestrians or other vehicles that are not visible on the camera.
  • Ignoring ADAS
    Drivers unfamiliar with available vehicle safety features can render ADAS ineffective by ignoring alerts or disengaging ADAS altogether. This may be especially prevalent if your fleet operates a long lifecycle. A driver moving from a vehicle with few ADAS features to a new vehicle with a full ADAS package can become overwhelmed.


Automatic Car Washes Can Cause ADAS Errors

Car wash crashes are a surprising ADAS system vulnerability. Claims submitted through CEI’s Accident Management program found that collisions have been occurring inside automated car washes from unexpected ADAS engagement.  Car washes can cause malfunctions or errors by interfering with the sensors and cameras of ADAS systems. For example, the system might be unable to detect obstacles or false positives if a spray or brush blocks it. This blindness could lead to unanticipated braking, steering, or acceleration. Some ADAS equipped vehicles have refused to go through the wash tunnel, or do not follow the track.

Drivers must know the manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions for car washes using ADAS-equipped vehicles. Manufacturers may not recommend certain types of car washes, or they may recommend disabling certain ADAS features before entering a car wash. Consult your owner’s manual for specific manufacturer instructions.


6 Steps to Take to Maximize ADAS Investments

Here are the key steps that driver safety and fleet managers can take to help drivers maximize safety from vehicle ADAS systems:


1. Driver Policy & Driver Confirmation of Owner’s Manual Review
A Fleet Driver Policy must include steps to ensure driver understanding of ADAS systems and their proper utilization. It must also define the ways drivers can become over-reliant and the measures necessary to avoid over-reliance.Every driver who receives a replacement vehicle faces the challenge of learning about the new safety equipment. Fleet and safety managers must ensure that their drivers are familiar with all safety features, and the expectation for proper use of ADAS.

2. Pool Vehicle Assignment Safety Process
Fleets must ensure drivers have all the information before driving pool vehicles. Implementing a vehicle hang tag system that describes the vehicle’s safety features and requires a signed testament of owner manual safety feature review by the driver is a risk mitigation best practice.


3. General Familiarity with ADAS
It is beneficial to get drivers familiar with general ADAS knowledge, before delving into specifics of any one vehicle. A driver training module is a good place to start. There are also industry resources that can help.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides a useful overview of ADAS technology that you can share with your drivers, also.

4. Specialized driver training for ADAS
Safety managers and fleet operators should review safety features, explain ADAS-related driver performance requirements, demonstrate, and practice the systems in a controlled environment, and test driver competency when providing a vehicle to a driver.

5. ADAS Updated Driver Training
Companies must keep drivers updated about any changes or updates to systems that affect their vehicles as technology advances. For example, introducing electric vehicles (EVs) that include several ADAS features as standard. Update driver training to include information about new safety equipment introduced in vehicle selectors.


6. Safety Communications
Ongoing safety communications with drivers should expand beyond changes to safety equipment, and include updates from OEMs, stories, and company-specific trends.It is useful for fleet managers to alert drivers to relevant safety issues, for example the use of ADAS equipped vehicles in automated car washes. If drivers are aware that some vehicles with ADAS systems using automated car washes have resulted in a crash within the car wash, they are more likely to seek information about how their vehicle operates.


Distraction, the Never-ending Driver Challenge

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) help drivers navigate the road and avoid potential collisions. However, drivers can become distracted by these features when ADAS is used incorrectly or viewed as too complex.

From driver policy to driver training, fleet and safety managers already have many of the tools to change driver behavior and prevent Driver ADAS Impairment.

Contact CEI to learn more about a comprehensive safety program that addresses Driver ADAS Impairment and other Driver Safety initiatives.



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