Driver assistance systems may encourage distracted driving, study finds

New technology that’s supposed to make driving safer could actually be spurring some unintended consequences, according to a new study.

Researchers from the AAA Foundation and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that drivers with experience using advanced driver assistance systems — like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist — were nearly twice as likely to engage in distracted driving while using the systems compared to when they were driving without the systems.

DOWNLOAD: The FOX 5 DC News app for local breaking news

“It is just human nature, the tendency to let your guard down because you think technology alone can do the job,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic Manager of Public And Government Affairs John Townsend.

Alternatively, researchers also found that drivers with less experience and familiarity using the technology were less likely to drive while distracted with systems activated compared to when systems were not in use, Townsend added.

DOWNLOAD: The FOX 5 DC Weather app for local weather alerts

Tuesday night, several drivers said the study results sound about right to them.

“Instead of looking over my shoulder to back out, I’m always looking at the screen,” one driver explained, “and so I think that takes away your innate ability to be observant of what’s around you.”