New vehicle safety technologies testing drivers’ ability to change


STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • My car does what?

  • An extra set of eyes

Are you finding it difficult to keep up with the speedy advances in vehicle safety technology?

If so, you’re not alone.

Designed to make driving safer and easier, these systems also have challenged drivers’ adaptability, as a recent in-depth survey of more than 2,000 adult drivers across the United States found.

“A majority of respondents had heard of, been exposed to, or interacted with at least one of the nine vehicle safety features studied, but expressed uncertainty about all of the technologies,” according to Daniel McGehee, a research director from the University of Iowa Public Policy Center.

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“The level of confusion about features that have been standard in American cars for quite a while was really surprising,” said McGehee, director of the Transportation and Vehicle Safety Research Division at the university, who attributed the survey results to the average age of vehicles on U.S. roads (11.5 years), a long time compared to the rapid pace of technology change.

“The little details about how some of these systems work are really important when we’re talking about safety. We need to do a better job of making sure consumers are comfortable with them.”

Toward that end, the university is cooperating with the National Safety Council through the website MyCarDoesWhat.org to provide information to new-vehicle owners on current technology. This includes videos and informational graphics that are entertaining and educational.

“We are entering a new era in vehicle safety, an era where we are no longer using technology just to protect occupants in a crash, but an era where we are using technology to prevent the crash altogether,” said T. Bella Dinh-Zarr of the National Transportation Safety Board. “But to realize this life-saving potential, consumers must understand the technology and its benefits.”

The video presented here, “An extra set of eyes,” about back-up cameras, back-up warnings and more, comes from MyCarDoesWhat.org, and is the first of a bi-weekly series here. A 30-second quick guide also follows, plus a brief introduction to Rick and Scout, who host the full-length videos.

An extra set of eyes 

Quick guide video

Rick and Scout