Consumer Reports recently published its Advanced Auto Safety Systems Survey, which closely examines owner experiences with a range of safety features. Over 57,000 Consumer Reports subscribers participated in the survey, which provided valuable feedback on certain safety technology that came equipped in approximately 66,000 vehicles with model years ranging from 2011 to 2017. The results of the survey found that, overall, consumers appreciated these safety features for their effectiveness at preventing accidents.
The safety features that consumers responded to included automatic emergency braking (AEB), forward-collision warning (FCW), blind-spot warning (BSW), and lane-departure warning (LDW). While a percentage of respondents felt that the audible warnings or false alerts were annoying, the majority of car owners reported that they helped to prevent a car accident. The potentially life-saving aspect of these features far outweighed any complaints, including false alerts and warnings.
The safety features that received the highest satisfaction scores were blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warnings, with a score of 83 percent each. The high scores were largely due to the fact that consumers experienced the benefits of these features on a daily basis, as opposed to FCW or AEB, which only engage when the vehicle is at risk of being involved in a collision. In vehicles that were equipped with blind-spot warnings, the safety feature helped to prevent accidents in 35 percent of the vehicles, putting it at the top of the list. On the bottom of the list were adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, which respondents found to be the least likely to prevent accidents.
Results of the survey also showed that approximately 45 percent of the vehicles that came equipped with FCW gave at least one false alert. However, only 18 percent of AEB-equipped vehicles engaged unnecessarily. While false alerts can be irritating and can cause the consumer to mistrust the system, Consumer Reports believes that the benefits of these systems clearly outweigh the minor annoyances. In fact, they believe that FCW and AEB should come standard in all vehicles, regardless of the false alerts. According to a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS,) rear-end collisions are reduced by 27 percent when the vehicle has FCW, and by 50 percent when a vehicle is also equipped with AEB. William Wallace, Policy Analyst for Consumers Union, the Policy and Mobilization Arm of Consumer Reports, commented that all consumers should have access to vehicles that are quipped with these safety features, not just the few who can afford expensive, luxury vehicles.
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