For many years, consumers in Pittsburgh and throughout the country have shown little interest in new and innovative auto safety features, preferring automakers to focus on traditional cost-saving measures such as increased gas mileage and general quality of the vehicle. But according to a new survey, that preference appears to be shifting.
Specifically, the survey found that consumer interest in vehicle safety features such as backup cameras, blind spot warning systems and pedestrian alerts is growing. Other findings indicate that the focus on safety and car accident prevention is coming at a good time: the survey respondents, all of whom were new car buyers, admitted that they had engaged in an average of 37 distracted driving behaviors in the previous four weeks, including eight e-mails or text messages, 11 cell phone calls and eight beverages.
Researchers and traffic safety officials are not completely sure why safety features have suddenly become such a focus among auto consumers. One possible reason, they say, is that they are more practical and useful during drivers' everyday commutes. The benefits of previous safety technologies, such as side-curtain air bags, electronic stability systems and antilock brakes, were not readily apparent to drivers. But new features such as backup cameras and blind spot warnings are often used multiple times during a single commute, and make drivers feel safer.
Whatever the reason, these results are positive for two reasons. First, additional safety features are becoming standard in new cars, decreasing the potential for car accidents. Second, consumers are starting to request additional protections, further ensuring that automakers will continue to work to develop new, innovative safety mechanisms.
Source: USA Today, "Drivers want backup cameras, blind spot alerts," Kelsey Mays, June 30, 2012