A recent study conducted by Brake in conjunction with Direct Line has revealed that safety features on a new vehicle are considered less important than build quality, reliability and fuel economy when purchasing a new car.
The study, which surveyed drivers as a whole but focussed on drivers between 17 and 24, revealed that only 48% of respondents (37% of those between 17 and 24) considered safety technologies to be one of the most important factors when purchasing a new car (price being excluded). This compared with 75% listing build quality and reliability and 73% fuel economy (falling to 55% and 36% respectively for the younger age category).
The study did, however, reveal that the majority of drivers said that safety features were desirable on a new car. Almost three quarters (74%) wanted airbags (but only 40% of 17 to 24 year olds) while 67% (29%) wanted anti-lock brakes. This compared to only 12% and 21% respectively who wanted an infotainment system.
The desire for pedestrian protection systems was well below that of safety of the occupants, with only 29% of respondents listing them as a “desirable feature”. More alarmingly, this fell to 0% of 17 to 24 year old respondents.
William Broadbent, associate in the personal injury and clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches, commented: “While it is encouraging to see that safety technology was in the “top three” considerations for a new car, it is concerning that this was only cited by 48% and 37% of respondents respectively. Pedestrian safety seems to be of very low priority to new car buyers and this needs to be addressed.
“Although car companies are investing heavily in improving safety systems in cars, drivers must not become complacent and take their safety for granted. Improving road safety statistics should not give road users a false sense of security. They must still be on the alert for both their own safety and that of other road users.”