The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has made some recommendations for improving driver-assist systems, so New Jersey residents with a semi-autonomous car may want to take note of them. It turns out that these systems are causing drivers to become too relaxed and inattentive behind the wheel. It all stems from a misunderstanding about the technology; drivers feel that it is more advanced than it really is and that it can take over the driving for them.

An even greater problem is that the technology itself does not do enough to keep drivers physically and mentally engaged with the task of driving. All that a driver-assist system requires is that drivers hold the steering wheel: something that drivers can do while still diverting themselves with, say, their phone.

The IIHS therefore recommends more methods for monitoring a driver’s behavior. The organization says that driver-facing cameras are one viable option. The safety non-profit also says that sensors should be installed in the steering wheel to determine drivers’ reaction times. This can help determine if drivers are distracted. When attention levels ebb, then a series of alarms should ideally return drivers to their task.

The IIHS is not the first to express concern over driver-assist tech. Congress and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have long been scrutinizing the technology after it became linked with several crashes.

Distracted driving is a serious form of negligence no matter what causes it: phones, infotainment systems, food, conversation with passengers, etc. Those who were injured in motor vehicle collisions and who discover that the other side was distracted may have grounds for a third-party insurance claim. There are limits as to who can file such a claim, however, as New Jersey is a no-fault state, so victims might consider a legal evaluation. A lawyer may help with negotiations and much more.