Induced Human Error

No one who has studied much economics will be surprised by this:  the Peltzman effect in action.

The NHTSA had volunteers drive a test track in cars with automatic lane departure correction, and then interviewed the drivers for their impressions. Although the report does not describe the undoubted look of horror on the examiner's face while interviewing one female, 20-something subject, it does relay the gist of her comments.
After she praised the ability of the car to self-correct when she drifted from her lane, she noted that she would love to have this feature in her own car. Then, after a night of drinking in the city, she would not have to sleep at a friend's house before returning to her rural home.

I assume that we eventually will have cars that can drive themselves; the pieces of the puzzle, from GPS to distance sensors, are falling into place.  Until then, however, humans will continue to treat safety improvements as a License to Idiocy, considerably reducing the safety improvements from optimal.

This is not to say that all safety regulations are useless--the number of tired or drunk drivers (and their victims) saved by lane drift alerts seems likely to exceed the victims of the extra idiots lured onto the road by the technology.    But as Tom Vanderbilt chronicled in his book, Traffic, (and at shorter length on his blog) you can sometimes actually reduce traffic accidents by making driving harder; people who feel uneasy are less likely to make inattentive mistakes.