New Study Finds Some Drivers Disabling “Annoying” Safety Systems

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According to a new study released by J.D. Power, drivers are disabling safety systems and crash avoidance technologies because they find them “annoying or bothersome”. This is a problem for the automotive industry, consumers, and the future of automotive safety standards.

Crash avoidance technologies include safety features such as blindspot assistance, autonomous emergency braking, and lane-keep technology. These technologies have proven to cut down on easily avoidable and common collisions caused by human error.

Disabling Safety Systems

Of the polled drivers, 23% of consumers with systems in their vehicles complained that the alerts, especially from lane keep technology, were annoying. Of those 23%, 61% of drivers reported disabling the safety features. 21% of all consumers with the technology have reported disabling the systems. The most immediate concern of the study is for the drivers that reported they are disabling the technology. By disabling the technologies, these drivers are putting themselves at risk.

The Importance of Crash Avoidance Technologies

These safety features have been costly to develop and are not yet standard in all vehicles. Although most cars sold have offered these safety features as an additional feature and not in standard models, there has been a push from lawmakers and consumers to make these features standard. It is also worrisome that if users are not using the technology that auto manufacturers may not continue to further these technologies.

The History of Seatbelts

However, if history can teach us a lesson on safety features, it may take time and regulations for consumers to use the safety features. As an example, seatbelts have been in some vehicles since the 1930s and the first seatbelt law mandating seatbelts in all vehicles took effect in 1968. It wasn’t until state seatbelt “click it or ticket” laws took effect in the 1980s and 1990s that consumers began to wear seatbelts regularly. Now, the majority of drivers don’t think twice before putting on a seatbelt each time they get into the car. Data shows that in the United States, car crash fatalities per capita is almost half of what is was prior to these state laws.  

How Crash Avoidance Technology and Seatbelts May Be Alike

If history were to repeat itself, it may take time, regulations, and standardization of these technologies to be fully embraced by consumers. The roll-out of these technologies is crucial to aid in decreasing the number of crashes in the future.