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Overwhelming Majority are Distracted While Driving

Is the answer more safety features integrated into our automobiles?

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Overwhelming Majority are Distracted While Driving
[ Technology]

According to self reports by consumers, drivers are engaging in 37 distracting behaviors per month. For the younger driver, age 18 to 34, the frequency goes up to 57 times in a month. Four in five new car buyers admit to engaging in behaviors that distract them from driving.

These distracting behaviors include texting, emailing, drinking a beverage, and receiving a phone call. Men are taking part in more distracting behaviors than women, and take 12 phone calls for every 10 a woman takes.

Despite the prevalence of distracting behaviors, many consumers pass over safety features like back-up cameras, blind spot warning systems, and pedestrian sensors for more luxury-focused options likes satellite radio and voice-activated controls. These statistics come from the latest Harris Poll released by Harris Interactive Research.

While consumers are concerned about safely features, they are overwhelmingly opting for plug in technology rather than system already integrated into the vehicle. It’s a challenge for automobile manufacturers to anticipate the wants and needs of future consumers.

Here’s what Harris Interactive had to say about safety features in their press release:

As car manufactures anticipate what automobile technology consumers will desire most, many original equipment manufacturers are pondering whether they should enable docking and connecting for current technology, create their own technology features, or partner with technology firms to meet today’s changing consumer demands. When evaluating consumer interest in automobile connectivity options, including built-in applications and options for docking smart phones, the study concluded that flexibility to “plug in” current consumer electronics wins out over integration.

Before exposure to a price, new car buyers prefer the option of smart phone docking over built-in applications, with 24% stating they would consider the option of docking their smart phone in their vehicle compared to just 14% who would consider having applications built-in. Once exposed to a price, consideration is just slightly less, at 20%, even though smart phone docking technology was priced $100 higher than built-in applications.

Mike Chadsey, Vice President of Automotive Solutions Consultant at Harris Interactive comments on the poll:

“While ideally these drivers should practice fewer of these distracted driving habits, it is also comforting to know that this distracted driving group is aware of the importance of safety features and is actively considering them for their next vehicle purchase.”

“Consumers are indicating that they want their automotive technology to help improve safety while giving them more flexibility, even if it costs a little more,”

“Personalization is the future of the connected car. Drivers want to use technology they already know and love in their vehicles. By integrating technologies they already own, it also eliminates some of the technology usage issues plaguing the industry today.”

Application Preferences by consumers:

With technology becoming a greater part of our daily lives, new car buyers that desire docking features named the following smart phone applications as the ones they have on their smart phone: Google Maps (66%), Google Search (65%), and Facebook (64%). Pandora (41%) and Twitter (32%) were also prominent. For consumers that prefer their applications to be integrated within their vehicle, Google Maps (82%) and Google Search (65%) topped the list again, while Pandora (45%) and social networking apps including Facebook (35%) and Twitter (17%) were less preferred.

One category where consumers continue to demonstrate growing interest is the area of navigation systems. Among consumers that are likely to consider a navigation option, a majority (62%) prefer a built-in system, while 19% prefer a portable device and 11% prefer to use a smart phone application.

Only time can tell what automotive manufacturers will choose to integrate into their automobiles in the future, but aftermarket accessories certainly do present some valuable options that you can install right away. The real question is, do we spend more time promoting less distracted driving behavior, or invest more money in making vehicles safer?

(Lead image courtesy of Cellphonesafety.org)

Overwhelming Majority are Distracted While Driving
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