We start this report with distracted driving. It’s always been with us but isn’t a term that we heard much until the last few years. These days with technology everywhere the distractions are growing.
This is where a study done by J.D. Power comes into play. It’s the 2019 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study and it has to do with features that will help people avoid distracted driving and crashes.
Here are a few of them:
• Backup cameras — no explanation needed
• Rear cross traffic alerts — warns you of potential rear-end collision outside of the view of the backup camera
• Traffic jam assist — automatically accelerates and brakes for you with the flow of traffic
• Highway pilot — maintains lane position and a determined distance behind the vehicle in front of you
• Adaptive cruise control — automatically adjusts speed to maintain a set following distance from the vehicle in front of you
• Forward collision warning — detects and warns you of a potential forward collision
• Automatic emergency braking — applies brakes for you if a forward collision with another vehicle is going to happen
• Pedestrian automatic braking — detects pedestrians and warns you and also applies brakes if they walk out in front of you
• Adaptive lighting — automatically adjusts your headlights when a vehicle approaches
• Lane departure warnings — warns if you drift across lane markings
• Lane keeping assist — automatically steers your vehicle back into its lane if you drift over the lane markings
• Blind spot detection — warns you if another car is in your vehicle's blind spots
• Lane centering assist — Steers you to keep you centered in a lane
And that leads us to a second J.D. Power Report. It’s the first of its kind that the firm has done on the subject and is titled the 2019 Mobility Confidence Index Study. Spokeswoman Kristin Kolodge said it seems consumers doubt all the technology just listed is going to keep them all that safe.
And it also says that people really hate self-driving vehicles.
“Out of the box, these scores are not encouraging,” she said. “As automakers head down the developmental road to self-driving vehicles and greater electrification, it’s important to know if consumers are on the same road — and headed in the same direction. That doesn’t seem to be the case right now.”
Here are the details. Asked to rate self-driving cars on 0 to 100 point scale:
• Comfort riding in them — 34 out of 100
• Comfort with sharing the highway with them — 35 out of 100
• 71% worry about system failures and errors
• 57% worry about hacks
• 55% worry about legal liability
• 66% — however — say they have little or no knowledge of driverless vehicles
PSB research came to a similar conclusion with a survey that was commissioned by Intel. It found:
• 43% don’t feel safe around self-driving vehicles
• 87% don’t rely on them and won’t when they become more available
This leads to another aspect of technology and it involves distracted driving. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah say while younger drivers are often distracted by technology, no one struggles with the distractions of technology in an automobile than the older driver. Adding to the potential nightmare is this statistic. By 2030 one in five — 20% — of drivers will be 65 or older.
The problem is information screens in vehicles that have multiple screens and many menus, and some have audio controls that lead to the confusion for older drivers. As an example, AAA said a person 55 to 75 adjusting the radio or programming navigation took their eyes off the road eight seconds longer than someone 21 to 36.
AAA says taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles the risk of crashing. And to point out how serious anything past two seconds can be, foundation president Dr. David Yang said more than 3,000 people died from distracted driving crashes in 2017.
“Voice-command functions found in new in-vehicle technology are intended to help drivers by keeping their eyes and attention on the road,” Yang said. “Unfortunately, the complexity and poor design of some of these systems could cause more harm for older drivers.”
Jake Nelson who handles traffic safety advocacy and research for AAA agrees with Yang about complexity. He points out that older adults take between 4.7 and 8.6 seconds longer to complete tasks than younger drivers. So the more complex the system, the more difficult it is for the older driver to navigate. Multiple menus and voice command functions also don’t always work the first time.
That’s sometimes frustrating for younger drivers but it’s almost always frustrating for older drivers. “This is a design problem, not an age problem,” Nelson said. “Designing systems to meet the safety and comfort needs of aging drivers would benefit all of us today.”
Source links: USA TODAY, PropertyCasualty360.com, Venture Beat