Driver assistance systems can help ensure safety when out on the road
Electronic Assistants Prove Popular
Accident researchers and road safety experts agree that the use of driver assistance systems can significantly reduce the number of crash fatalities. State-of-the-art technology in vehicles can help to compensate for human error to a certain extent – including that caused by age-related performance deficits. But which systems are people familiar with? Which ones are fitted to vehicles, and which ones are being used in real life? And how do car drivers rate the benefits of these systems? To answer these questions, the market research and opinion polling company forsa carried out a representative survey for the latest DEKRA Road Safety Report 2021 entitled “Old-Age Mobility.” Around 2,000 randomly selected German car drivers from all age groups were surveyed.
- Parking assistant is by far the most widely used assistance system
- Vast majority would like a more standardized way of operating the systems
- Drivers need to learn more about benefits and limits of the systems
By far the most commonly used assistance system among those surveyed is the parking assistant (75%), followed by the (high-beam) light assistant (42%), lane departure warning system (38%), adaptive cruise control (35%), and traffic sign recognition system (30%). For the most part, men tend to use these systems much more than women.
If the drivers surveyed stated they were already familiar with, or had already used, the assistance system in question, they were also asked to evaluate how useful and helpful they found it. The findings showed that all assistance systems were rated as rather or very useful by a clear majority (at least three quarters of those surveyed in each case). This applies in particular to the blind spot / lane change assistant (93%) and the parking assistant (91%). A similarly high proportion also considered the predictive automated emergency braking system (88%) and the adaptive cruise control (85%) to be rather or very useful.
A further interesting aspect is the fact that the operation of the assistance systems and the way they are activated and deactivated varies depending on the vehicle model. Across every age group, 83% of those surveyed agreed that it was necessary and sensible to make sure that the way these systems are operated is as uniform and standardized as possible in all cars – just like the turn signal controls. This opinion was shared by 89% of the 65-and-over age group included in the survey, and 95% of those aged 75 and over.
The aim of the survey was not to establish the status quo for driver assistance systems in the German market, but rather to discover more about how much drivers knew about how assistance systems work and find out their wishes and expectations with regard to driver assistance. “The results of the survey clearly show that many people know very little about assistance systems, and do not know what the names of the systems mean or which systems are actually installed in their own vehicles,” says Walter Niewöhner. For example, around ten percent of those surveyed stated they had experience with dooring prevention system and night vision assistant – systems that are currently not available in almost any vehicle. “This example alone demonstrates how important it is to comprehensively educate people about which systems there are, how effective they are, and where their limits lie,” added Niewöhner.