Drivers sceptical over safety tech

Last Updated 08 September 2011, 17:01 IST

While advanced features such as lane departure warnings and automatic help-call functionality are becoming ever-more common in today’s vehicles, under a third of us believe they are helping to make drivers safer.

That’s the conclusion of a poll out this week by insurance firm MetLife Auto & Home, which asked US citizens about their attitude to the rapidly changing world of in-vehicle technology.

While 85 per cent said that they thought cars were much safer today, nearly two-thirds expressed concern that drivers now rely too heavily on technology when on the road.

Lack of awareness

However, drivers also showed a surprising lack of awareness when it came to the new technologies, suggesting that perhaps they are much safer without even knowing it.
Under half of the respondents were familiar with electronic stability control, for example—one of the most significant new technologies which dramatically improves safety by improving steering.

A similar amount were familiar with other features such as brake assist or forward collision warnings, increasingly common systems which are rarely discernible in the course of a standard journey, and under 30 per cent were familiar with lane departure warnings.

The poll suggests that automakers may have some way to go before they convince buyers that safety features are worth paying for, with 63 per cent saying that they would choose GPS navigation over potentially lifesaving electronic stability control technology.

With governments increasingly insisting that high-tech safety features come as standard on newer models, it will be interesting to see whether that attitude changes.

(Published 08 September 2011, 17:01 IST)

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