As supply chain woes continue around the world, many car buyers face the possibility of having to drive blind. According to Fox Business, a shortage of semiconductor chips is forcing some automakers to cut out certain features that have become commonplace in newer vehicles. These features include not only amenities like heated seats and touchscreens, but also safety features like blind-spot monitors and proximity alerts. “Automakers are in a tight spot when the materials aren’t available for some of the safety technology,” Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Jessica Cicchino said. “It really shifts the burden on the consumers who are already having a hard time shopping for a car.” Technology experts suggest the chip began with the lockdowns that swept the world at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early to mid-2020. “The shortage can be traced back to the first half of 2020, when overall consumer demand for cars declined during the lockdown,” noted IT publication TechRepublic reported. “This forced chip manufacturers to shift their focus to other areas, such as computer equipment and mobile devices, which spiked in demand with more people working remotely.” Of course, blind spots are not a new phenomenon. They have been an issue since the invention of automobiles, and side mirrors were invented as a way to help improve a driver’s vision. Yet even with these mirrors, most cars still have blind spots in which drivers cannot see other vehicles around them without physically turning around and looking over their shoulders. There are currently no regulations requiring blind-spot monitors, Fox Business reported. However, Cicchino said they are extremely helpful safety features. “While we don’t test for them in our vehicle ratings programs, these are useful technologies to have, and we do want to see them on as many vehicles as possible,” she said. A study conducted by IIHS found blind spot monitors could reduce collisions causing injury by 23 percent, Fox Business reported. In addition, blind spot monitors are often accompanied by rear cross-traffic alerts. These are the systems that notify a driver when a car is approaching as they back up, and the IIHS study found they could reduce backup crashes by 22 percent. While cars can still comply with all regulations without having these features, Consumer Reports senior director of automotive testing Jake Fisher said it would be a negative development for fewer vehicles to include them. “It’s unfortunate that the chip shortage may prevent a new model from coming with the latest safety features that can prevent crashes and injuries,” Fisher told Fox Business. “After all, better safety is one of the leading reasons people decide to upgrade their car in the first place.” Fox Business confirmed at least two automakers, Volkswagen and Cadillac, were not offering blind-spot models on certain models as of Sunday. The companies said they could not predict whether this would change in the near future. If there is one piece of good news, Fisher said it was the fact that many companies have not yet had to resort to cutting safety features. He assured Fox Business “most automakers have the required chips to keep producing their models without removing equipment — and a smart shopper will avoid the models that do.” This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.