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A man using a phone while driving. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The more drivers use assisted-driving systems, the more comfortable they become with the technology — and the more likely they are to misuse it, according to new research from AAA and Virginia Tech.

What they found: After becoming accustomed to driving with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, drivers were nearly twice as likely to engage in distracted driving behavior (texting, adjusting the radio) compared to when they were driving without the systems.

  • Conversely, drivers less familiar with the technology paid closer attention when the systems were turned on than when they were off.

"This new research suggests that as drivers gain more experience using ADAS technology, they could develop complacency while behind the wheel," said David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. "Over-reliance on these systems can put drivers and others in dangerous conditions during critical moments."

Virginia Tech researchers compare the risks of learning to trust ADAS technology to other industries.

  • Pilots and nuclear technicians demonstrate similar patterns of over-reliance on automated systems, which can eventually lead to distraction.

The bottom line: Getting people to trust ADAS technology — without over-relying on it — is going to require concerted education efforts.

Go deeper: Modern cars are testing the limits of their computer hardware

Go deeper

Biden taps Brian Deese to lead National Economic Council

Brian Deese (L) in 2015 with special envoy for climate change Todd Stern (C) and Secretary of State John Kerry (R). Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden announced Thursday that he has selected Brian Deese, a former Obama climate aide and head of sustainable investing at BlackRock, to serve as director of the National Economic Council.

Why it matters: The influential position does not require Senate confirmation, but Deese's time working for BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager and an investor in fossil fuels, has made him a target of criticism from progressives.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
32 mins ago - Economy & Business

The places regulation does not reach

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Financial regulation is not exactly simple anywhere in the world. But one country stands out for the sheer amount of complexity and confusion in its regulatory regime — the U.S.

Why it matters: Important companies fall through the cracks, largely unregulated, while others contend with a vast array of regulatory bodies, none of which are remotely predictable.

1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Boeing gets huge 737 Max order from Ryanair, boosting hope for quick rebound

Ryanair low cost airline Boeing 737-800 aircraft as seen over the runway. Photo by Nik Oiko/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Dublin-based Ryanair said it would add 75 more planes to an existing order for Boeing's 737 Max airplanes, a giant vote of confidence as Boeing seeks to revive sales of its best-selling plane after a 20-month safety ban following two fatal crashes.

The big picture: Ryanair's big order, on the heels of breakthrough vaccine news, is also a promising sign that the devastated airline industry might recover from the global pandemic sooner than expected.