eSafety Systems, the Key to More Safety
Publication date: 22 October 2007
More drivers need to be made aware of the benefits of eSafety technology, according to a new Europe-wide survey conducted by FIA clubs.
A new EuroTest survey about drivers' awareness of in-car electronic safety (eSafety) systems and road infrastructure telematics reveals that informed consumers agree that these devices contribute to increased safety on the roads. But there are still too many uninformed consumers on the road.
The overall goal was to determine the level of interest and knowledge among drivers EU wide in electronic safety systems which have the potential to contribute significantly to a reduction in road accidents. The results clearly show that if drivers are to fully appreciate the potential safety gains of driving in an environment where cars have inbuilt safety systems that can communicate with an intelligent road environment then much more needs to be done. Research already shows that if electronic stability control (ESC) was installed in all new cars, 4,000 lives per year would be saved. Greater awareness and take up of these systems is therefore needed.
Among the motorists who participated in the survey, an overwhelming majority considered safety as the first criterion when purchasing a new car. As many as 73.5 per cent of the participants even consider safety before price. When it comes to perceived usefulness, the Area Routing Control System, a future system that will offer alternative routes in towns in the event of an accident, was the clear winner with almost 90 per cent of respondents hailing its usefulness. The runner up, with 85 per cent was the Cooperative Travel Assistance System, which will support drivers in planning their personalized routes and help road managers predict congestion situations. In third place was eCall with 83 per cent.
However, according to the findings, there is a dearth of information about eSafety systems which explains why many respondents found the concepts very abstract. Also there is a clear connection between having eSafety systems in the car and knowing about them. Austrian motorists are the best informed while the French have very little knowledge about eSafety.
When asked where they obtained information about eSafety or telematics systems from, the majority of motorists claimed that they rely on Internet, automobile clubs and car dealers to give them the information. The Austrians and Germans expect this information from the automobile clubs. Croatians and Norwegians get it from the Internet while Portuguese, Italian and Spanish motorists rely most heavily on their car dealers to get the information.
"There is no doubt that eSystems could contribute significantly to the safety performance of not only motorists themselves and their vehicles but also the road environment," said Caroline Ofoegbu, Deputy Director General of the FIA European Bureau. "But much more must be done to tell consumers about the benefits of eSafety particularly when buying a new car. If the take-up was broader many more accidents could be avoided."