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How Familiar Are Americans With Their Vehicle's Safety Features?

Thanks to improved designs and greater reliability, people are staying behind the wheels of their vehicles for much longer. Indeed, statistics show that the average automobile traversing the roads and highways here in the U.S. is now an unbelievable 11.5 years old.

While automakers are certainly to be commended for having more desirable and long-lasting models rolling off their assembly lines, experts have indicated that this vehicle longevity may actually be having an unintended effect.

What exactly is this unintended effect?

A group of researchers from the University of Iowa Policy Center’s Transportation and Vehicle Safety program recently conducted a survey to determine how familiar people are with the latest automotive safety technology, and found that a rather significant number had little to no idea about the newer features designed to keep them safe.

What exactly did the survey reveal?

The researchers surveyed 2,015 people about their knowledge of nine vehicle safety features. Some of the more notable findings include:

  • 94 percent expressed familiarity with cruise control
  • 92 percent expressed familiarity with anti-lock braking systems
  • 55 percent expressed familiarity with tire-pressure monitoring systems
  • 50 percent expressed familiarity with lane-departure warning systems
  • 35 percent expressed familiarity with adaptive cruise control

Why is this significant?

The significance of these findings is that if and when these Americans who drive older vehicles upgrade to new vehicles, they may not necessarily be aware of otherwise proven safety technology that can mean the difference between walking away from a car crash or suffering serious personal injuries.

Is this preponderance of older vehicles the sole factor at play?

No. The researchers theorized that the fact that many vehicle safety systems go by different names or operate in a manner specific to a particular brand may also contribute to this phenomenon.

Is anything being done to address this?

Fortunately, the researchers are developing an informational website in conjunction with the National Safety Council designed to provide drivers with comprehensive information on safety technology, joining those already formed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Is your car equipped with new safety technology? Are you familiar with it or does it remain a bit of a mystery? If so, be sure to consider checking out one of these websites.