A new survey by Brake, the road safety charity, has led to them calling for drivers, especially younger drivers, to put safety first when buying a new vehicle. The survey was released on 11th August and found the safety features are much less of a priority for young drivers when buying a vehicle than the brand.
The survey was carried out on behalf of the charity in partnership with Direct Line and found that drivers put safety technologies third on a list of priorities and decision-making factors when buying a new car. In front of safety technology came both reliability and fuel economy. Less than half of the drivers surveyed, 48%, named safety as one of their three most importance considerations and this was particularly notable in young drivers (aged 17-24) where only 37% of drivers put safety in their top three considerations, whilst 39% chose brand.
Young drivers have always been a core focus group for road safety campaigns because of the associated risks but those manufacturing cars seem to be of the opposite opinion as there is a huge growth in the interest in and development of ‘infotainment’ systems which are built into cars. Younger drivers consider these kind of perks when choosing a car and in fact 21% of young drivers said they wanted an ‘infotainment’ system built into any car they planned to purchase whilst 17% said it was one of the most important factors when choosing a car. As we have discussed before the risk of these systems is high, due to the distraction they cause and as the Institute of Advanced Motorists found these new driver distractions can be more dangerous than alcohol or drugs.
Safer Cars, Safer Roads
The survey also found that surveyed drivers were found to be disinterested or showed a lack of engagement with industry safety standards such as the Euro NCAP. Many would say that a rating of five stars from Euro NCAP is the best way of ensuring your vehicle is protecting you whilst on the road and therefore also ensuring other road users are protected too. Despite this only 23% of drivers said that the Euro NCAP rating was something they looked into before buying a new vehicle.
Brake wants safety features to be top of the agenda for all potential car buyers and drivers should be made aware of the importance of things such as the Euro NCAP rating and the dangers of ‘infotainment’ systems. It is a worry that drivers care more about the additional features cars offer rather than how safe they are, as it’s the safety features that will protect them if there is a road traffic accident and not their social media dashboard.