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Drivers challenged to make car safety a ‘deal-breaker’

Ford Mustang Euro NCAP crash test 2017

UK motorists are today being urged by the Stop the Crash Partnership to make car safety a deal-breaker.

This comes as a study revealed that although drivers say that safety is a high priority – second only to cost – when they actually purchase a car basic safety technologies like AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking) lose out to upgraded infotainment systems. 

The 2,000 consumer study also found that 83% of motorists think that the best safety options should be fitted as standard and that as many as 9 million drivers are not willing to pay extra for them. The take up of safety options remains low, at just 3.5%.

Matthew Avery, director of research at Thatcham Research, said: “Our good safety intentions seem to evaporate on arriving at the dealership. There’s an urgent need to change the consumer mind-set to negotiate for the inclusion of additional safety options, if not standard, just as we would with other consumables or features. Especially when they can cost as little as £200. Safety should be a deal-breaker, not a nice to have.”

Avery has already called for an increase in dealer training on safety technology after a dealer attempted to dissuade him from adding the kit

If motorists can apply pressure by demonstrating that safety is a deal-breaker it will encourage more manufacturers to fit safety technology as standard, according to Stop the Crash.

It has been found that AEB can lead to a 38% reduction in real-world rear-end crashes and has the potential to save 1,100 lives and more than 120,000 casualties over the next 10 years.

AEB in Your Bonnet

Stop the Crash and its partners are attending the London Motor Show (5-7 May 2017) to demonstrate the life-saving capabilities of AEB technology to the public. It will also educate people about the legal tyre tread depth limit of 1.6mm and on significant stopping differences seen when driving on tyres with 3mm tread depth.

The London Motor Show will be the platform for the launch of a three point plan to address the low-take up of additional safety technologies:

  • AEB as standard: 83 per cent agreed that the best safety features should be fitted as standard. Stop the Crash supports this view and is calling on car manufacturers to fit AEB as standard on all new makes and models. At present only one of the ten best selling cars in the UK has standard fit AEB.
  • Safety stocked: vehicle manufacturers should review how readily available cars with safety tech such as AEB and Lane Keep Assist systems are to dealers – for test-drives, demonstrations and sales. This is an issue Avery has experienced first-hand, “Recently I visited a dealership to purchase a 5 star Euro NCAP-rated car. However, the dealer attempted to put me off when I insisted on an extra safety option, saying it would be a factory order likely to take 12 weeks.”
  • Dealer safety training: 76 per cent of consumers said they would expect a demonstration of the safety technologies on board when buying from a franchised dealership. Stop the Crash is therefore calling for vehicle manufacturers to invest more into training, so that dealers can explain safety technologies to consumers and successfully “sell safety.”

Avery added: “Motorists have a vital role in proving that safety sells and our message to them is to insist on safety as standard. We are taking this message to the London Motor Show, where we will demonstrate AEB to visitors – a technology which will be talked about in the same breath as the seatbelt in terms of its revolutionary impact on car safety. However, only one of 2017’s best-selling vehicles has AEB fitted as standard across all models.”

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