Today’s vehicles come equipped with some of the most advanced safety technology, including blind spot detection, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. As cars with comprehensive driver-assist technologies replace older model cars, you would expect the number of car accidents to plummet.
However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of fatal car accidents increased from 32,744 in 2014 to 37,461 in 2016, many of which were caused by distracted driving. Car companies are trying to strike the right balance between offering the latest safety technology without overwhelming consumers with too many bells and whistles that can be distracting.
A recent survey by Esurance found that ten percent of drivers feel that semi-autonomous technology is having a negative impact on their driving. In addition, close to 30 percent of customers found the warning sounds distracting, and 25 percent said that they disabled the safety features because they did not like the constant beeps, blinking lights, and other warning sounds.
However, these alerts are designed to keep customers safe, so turning them off could put them at greater risk of being in a car accident.
For the vast majority of consumers who are in the market for a new car, safety is a top priority. According to research conducted by AutoPacific, customers are willing to pay more for a vehicle with high safety ratings. However, they are not necessarily interested in all of the technology.
Older drivers in particular often find the advanced safety features overwhelming and distracting. On the other hand, younger drivers who have grown up with technology may become too dependent on the safety features, according to the vice president of industry analysis at AutoPacific.
A mobility study conducted by Cox Automotive found that 54 percent of motorists responded that technology makes them better drivers. In addition, 54 percent of millennials value safety technology, versus 36 percent of Generation X and 31 percent of Baby Boomers.
Safety Tech and Distractions
It is important that the safety technology and infotainment systems are intuitive and easy to operate. Just because a safety feature is available in a car does not necessarily mean that it is safe. If it is going to be distracting or cause confusion, it defeats the purpose.
The two safety features that have been most effective at reducing the incidence of car accidents include forward collisions warnings and automatic emergency braking, according to the vice president of research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Lane departure warnings, meanwhile, have received the most complaints, resulting in over half of drivers turning this feature off.