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Poll: Most Drivers Don’t Want to Pay Extra for Safety

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1953 ... safety first!

An insurance company phone poll of 1,000 Americans found that drivers surveyed about their car preferences would rather pay extra for technical convenience features, like GPS, than for safety features.

As Chris Woodyard writes in USA TODAY:

Electronic stability control significantly decreases the likelihood of a single-vehicle crash by up to 59% and provides a 23% reduction in the probability of fatal crashes. Even with this proven effectiveness, just one-third of respondents said they would pay extra for the feature.

MetLife’s Auto & Home American Safety Pulse Poll found that 90% of the surveyed drivers were familiar with GPS and 77% knew about Bluetooth-style accessories. But less than half of respondents knew about electronic stability control (which helps prevent rollover accidents), brake assist (which applies additional brake force in sudden stops), and collision warning (which alerts the driver when sensors detect that a front-end impact is about to occur). And only 28% of those surveyed were familiar with the lane departure warning feature, which lets a driver know when his or her car is drifting out of lane on a highway. In fact, 41% of those polled had never heard of that feature.

MetLife says the survey shows that although most Americans do not want to pay for safety features, they appreciate them and feel safer when all cars on the road are equipped with them, including forward collision warning, rear-view camera, and electronic stability control.

MetLife reports:

‘The most recognized and sought-after technology features tend to be those which promote style over substance, when in reality, it’s the less glamorous features like electronic stability control which make for safer vehicles,’ said [Bill] Moore [president of MetLife Auto & Home]. ‘By increasing their understanding of the available safety features in today’s vehicles, consumers can make more informed choices about which cars provide the best safeguards to help protect themselves and their families on the road.’

Moore also said, “Auto manufacturers have made significant strides with regard to safety innovations over the past 10 years — but the ultimate safety feature is an alert and prepared driver. Technology advancements have greatly improved the comfort and safety of cars, but over-reliance on these features can be dangerous — drivers need to remember that it’s still up to them to operate their vehicles in a safe and responsible manner.”

Here’s a video about one car maker’s brake assist feature:

Image by x-ray delta one (James Vaughan), used under its Creative Commons license.

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