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Why Some Car Safety Features May Be Safety Hazards

Controlling and using car safety devices can be too confusing for many driversIt seems that each new model year brings updated cars with more safety features and more technology options. However, new reports suggest that the safety features aren’t having the desired effects and the technology options aren’t being used…because drivers are confused.

What’s the Problem?

According to J.D. Power and Associates, at least 20 percent of new car owners have not used at least 16 of 33 technology features in their vehicles. In its first 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience Report, J.D. Power found that some of the technology features that were not being used were safety features. Specifically, the study found that 35 percent of drivers never used automatic parking systems. Researchers found that if drivers don’t use in-car technology within the first 30 days of vehicle ownership, then they likely never will. Accordingly, they suggest that dealerships could do a better job of explaining the new technology to buyers.

Additionally, a survey conducted by the University of Iowa recently found that the majority of drivers are uncertain about how at least some of the safety technology in their car works. As with the J.D. Power study, one major cause of confusion has been a lack of understanding that could be improved upon if dealerships spent more time educating consumers.

In an effort to combat the confusion, the National Safety Council, the University of Iowa, and the Department of Transportation recently began a new program to teach drivers how safety technology works. The initiative will include a website and public service announcements.

If you have any questions about the safety features in your car, then we encourage you to talk to your dealer and to your mechanic, or to do some research of your own to find out how to use the available features so that you can be as safe as possible on the road.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham
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