The CAPS discussion on the recent Cirrus crash thread got me to thinking: What really happens to the safety record when technologies such as glass displays, datalink wx, ADS-B, GPS, parachutes, etc., filter down the food chain to light sport aircraft and other VFR craft? The engineer in me hopes that the safety record improves dramatically, but the low-time pilot in me realizes that these technologies are more likely to lull inexperienced pilots into bad weather and bad situations.
Does anybody have statistics, articles, etc. to answer this question? I've read various studies about the effects of safety features in cars and how they tend to embolden drivers to the point that the overall safety record isn't necessarily improved. A safety feature can make a crash more survivable or less likely to occur in a given scenario, but it can also make the average driver less cautious and more liklely to get into a crash scenario in the first place. Will the same effect happen at the bottom end of the GA food chain and the average pilot there, or is it a poor comparison?