Consumer interest is growing in safety features such as backup cameras, blind spot warning systems and pedestrian alerts, according to a survey released Wednesday by Harris Interactive. It stands in contrast to fewer people caring about safety versus traditional vehicle needs — like gas mileage and quality — as cars become safer by the year.
The tangibility of such features could be driving interest. Features that elevated auto safety in the past decade — electronic stability systems, antilock brakes, side curtain airbags — are largely required by law today, but most were hidden from the driving experience. By contrast, a backup camera or blind spot warning system are used several times in a single commute.
Harris says such features beat out entertainment technologies like satellite radio and voice activation. That’s no surprise, given last week's J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study showed such systems often go on the fritz.
The safety technology may come in handy. Harris says new-car buyers admitted to 37 distracted-driving habits each in the past four weeks. Among them were 11 phone calls, eight beverage consumptions and eight texts or emails behind the wheel. Eighteen-to-34 year-olds copped to more distractions than their older peers, as did males versus females.
Other survey findings:
- Consumers would rather dock their phones with an entertainment system, like a simple USB connection, than use integrated features like Toyota's Entune or Ford's Sync App Link.
- Those who use app integration prefer Google Maps and Google Search over Pandora, Facebook or Twitter.
- Even though most smartphones offer portable navigation, most consumers still prefer built-in dashboard systems.