Recent Study Reveals that Drivers Recognize Their Dangerous Driving Habits
According to a recent study commissioned by Ford and conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, 99% of approximately 2,507 surveyed drivers believe that they are “good drivers”, despite the fact that: (i) over 75% admitted to eating or drinking when driving; (ii) 55% stated that they speed; (iii) over 50% admitted to talking on a cell phone when behind the wheel; (iv) 37% indicated that they will drive despite being overtired; and (v) 25% stated that they habitually check their phone messages and search for contacts while driving.
In light of these findings, Penn Schoen Berland’s managing director, Billy Mann, noted that people tend to claim that they are good drivers, yet at the same time acknowledge that they engage in risky behavior, making accidents much more likely to occur. Specifically, Mann reported that out of all of the study subjects, over 55% had an accident or came close to being involved in one and 48% reported having hit or nearly hit something while backing out of a parking spot. Overall, Mann provides that the test subjects, while maintaining that they are good drivers, are nonetheless willing to consider technology to assist them in becoming more focused on their surroundings while driving.
In response, Ford – for several years now - has offered numerous types of “driver-assist” programs, yet has been surprised to find out that less than one third of respondents know about the variety of features available, especially those that are directed at young drivers. Such programs include pre-set maximum speed limits on cars and automatic blocks to incoming cell phone calls and text messages.
According to Ford’s group marketing manager Amy Marentic, the company needs to do a better job communicating to the public about its driver-assist features. This includes increasing training programs for dealers, and encouraging them to spend time educating customers about the driver-assist features that Ford offers in their vehicles.
While distracted driving is certainly not recommended, Ford understands that people simply do not have enough time in the day to get everything accomplished. Hence, the reason why they multi-task, which often includes driving while texting or talking on the cell phone. According to Penn Schoen Berland’s study, drivers are interested in car features that will alert them in the event that there is a car located in their blind spots, or behind them when backing out of a parking space. Other drivers indicated a desire to have their steering wheel vibrate or to be alerted in other ways in the event that they drift out of their lane due to tiredness or inattention.
These findings were good news for Ford, given that on its new 2013 Fusion the consumer can get some of the most up to date driver-assist features available. Ford has also received over 25,000 orders for its new Fusion, which will be released for sale to the public in October. Ford is also pleased to see that over 10% of people looking to purchase the new Fusion are opting for ones with the most driver-assist features, and about 25% are choosing higher end versions in general. Approximately 15% of purchasers are seeking warnings on their vehicles such as lane-departure and blind spot alerts. While most people in the study were intrigued to learn about a car that can drive itself, over 55% stated that they would not be comfortable this this feature.
According to Marentic, the amount of technology in the new Fusion is attractive to buyers, who generally do not want to compromise in this area, even when it involves the purchase of a $25,000 car. Nonetheless, Ford understands that customers are still downsizing, and as such, it is trying to keep its costs down by leveraging its scale, according to Ford’s director of research and innovation, Randy Visintainer. Overall, Ford is looking to offer an affordable car that still has the luxuries and safety features necessary to be attractive to money conscious drivers. Moreover, Marentic maintains that Ford’s main goal in offering the above referenced features is to encourage people to take a second look at its products.
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