If you have purchased a car in the last four years, you’ve probably noticed several new features designed to help protect you on the roadway. And thanks to that advanced engineering and technology, today’s cars are safer than ever. Some of the newer features include automated emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control to name a few.
However, a national survey by Erie Insurance found that not everyone is taking advantage of these new safety features. According to the survey, which asked 500 U.S. licensed drivers ages 18 and older with vehicles made in 2016 and after, drivers are intentionally turning off or disabling these features that can ultimately help them avoid crashes.
Erie Insurance, a car insurance company concerned about the safety of its customers and all drivers, commissioned a national survey to find out which features drivers disable the most and why. “Drivers said their most common reasons for turning off or disabling features is that they find them annoying or distracting,” said Jon Bloom, vice president of personal auto, Erie Insurance. Bloom said while automakers are always working to refine and improve features, there also may be cases when it’s more a matter of learning how the feature works and getting used to it.
An analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) found that forward collision warning combined with automated emergency braking cuts front-to-rear crashes with injuries by more than half (56%). But the Erie Insurance survey found that, of the drivers whose vehicles have these features, 11% turn off forward collision warning and 17% turn off automated emergency braking.
Interestingly, the two features drivers were most likely to say they disabled were ones designed to enhance their comfort and convenience. The largest percentage of drivers (30%) said they had not used adaptive cruise control, which keeps a vehicle a specific distance from the car in front of it by applying the brakes if it gets too close. The most cited reason for not using this feature was “I want to control the vehicle, not have the vehicle control itself.”
The second most disabled feature was lane keeping assist, which helps prevent the car from straying across lane markings by automatically making light braking or minor steering adjustments. Almost a quarter of drivers (23%) said they turned off lane keeping assist, and the most cited reason was that they found the feature annoying.
This is unfortunate. The new safety features available will save lives and injuries. “Ideally as features improve and drivers get more comfortable with them, using them will become second-nature the way seatbelts are today,” Bloom said. “The payoff could be huge in terms of reducing crashes and saving lives.”
Many thanks to Erie Insurance Group, based in Erie, PA, and the 13th largest automobile insurer in the US, for providing the information for this article. They can be reached at: https://www.erieinsurance.com/