Web page for backup cameras reads "Backing assist: an extra set of eyes"

There is a new website designed to teach drivers about new vehicle safety features, as Dee-Ann Durbin reports for AP news in an article appearing on ABC News. MyCarDoesWhat.org contains videos and information, and was created by the National Safety Council and the University of Iowa Public Policy Center’s Transportation and Vehicle Safety program in response to its survey, which found that many drivers are unaware of new safety technology, Durbin writes.

Durbin quotes Daniel V. McGehee, who conducted the survey, as saying he was surprised that even car dealers and service department managers were not always knowledgable about the new safety features. He said that is because the technology is changing so quickly.

Consumer Awareness

The survey, the National Consumer Survey of Driving Safety Technologies, was conducted in early fall of 2014, and questioned more than 2,000 adult drivers throughout the United States, according to the University of Iowa. The drivers were asked about nine vehicle safety features:

  • Anti-lock braking systems
  • Cruise control
  • Traction control
  • Tire pressure monitoring system
  • Back-up/rear view cameras and back-up sensor warning systems
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Blind spot warning systems
  • Forward collision warning systems
  • Lane departure warning systems.

The University writes:

Consumers had uncertainty regarding all of the technologies sampled, with the highest levels occurring for adaptive cruise control (65.2%), tire pressure monitoring systems (45.3%) and lane departure warning system (35.6%). This finding points to a huge opportunity to improve driver safety by increasing consumer understanding of these technologies.

While drivers may be confused about all the new features, the fact that different carmakers typically give different names to the features only adds to that confusion, Durbin writes. For example, Mercedes-Benz named its adaptive cruise control system Distronic Plus, whereas Subaru’s are part of the EyeSight suite of safety systems, she writes. Complicating things further, each carmaker’s systems may work differently. For example, some simply give drivers a warning if the drivers veer out of lane, whereas others will automatically steer the car back into lane, Durbin writes.

Sought-After Technologies

Most of those surveyed had heard of, been exposed to, or interacted with all the technologies except for adaptive cruise control, which only 35% of respondents had any exposure to. The survey found that people who drove a 2014 vehicle were more familiar with the safety technologies than those who drove older vehicles.

The University of Iowa writes that when asked which technology they would pay extra for when buying a new car, the highest percentage of those surveyed said backup cameras, and the blind spot warning system came in second. Most of those surveyed said their preferred resource for finding information about their vehicle was the Internet, the survey’s Key Findings page says.

The abstract of the study says:

[T]he University of Iowa (UI) Public Policy Center’s Transportation and Vehicle Safety Program received three grants totaling $17.2 million to fund automotive safety research and the development and implementation of a national education campaign to help drivers understand the safety technologies in vehicles.

Here is a video from My Car Does What?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08esjtVHZBI&w=500&h=281]

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