US: research shows drivers unaware of safety features image

Numerous studies conducted in the US and elsewhere around the world shows consumers want increased safety protection from their vehicles – including paying for the most advanced safety technologies in use.

But a new research shows the Average Joe inside the car usually doesn’t know what all those systems he paid for are actually doing. The University of Iowa Transportation and Vehicle Safety Research Division asked around 2, 000 motorists to see if they knew what nine different safety technologies in use on vehicles today can do. The report shows the vast majority of drivers had at least some experience with one of the technologies, though 40 percent of them also said their vehicles behaved in “unexpected” ways. “As technologies like rear-view cameras and lane departure warning systems advance and become more prevalent in the cars we’re driving there is a tremendous need to improve consumer understanding of these critical safety features,” comments Daniel McGehee, director of the Transportation and Vehicle Safety Research Division at the UI Public Policy Center.

Of the nine safety technologies that were polled among the drivers, the motorists least understood adaptive cruise control (65 percent) and lane departure warning systems (36 percent). The first one will maintain the speed set by the driver but also a pre-set distance following distance and the latter one alerts the driver if it changes lanes without signaling first. But even technologies that have been in use in vehicles for years – such as anti-lock braking systems and tire pressure-monitoring features – were not always fully understood, said the survey’s findings.