A new safety campaign to help drivers navigate new, lifesaving technologies was unveiled by the nation’s leading transportation authorities amid concerns that Americans are uncertain about how important vehicle safety features work – even with technologies that have been standard for years.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Mark Rosekind joined creators of the MyCarDoesWhat campaign, Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council (NSC), and Daniel McGehee, director of the transportation and the vehicle safety program at the University of Iowa, to highlight the effort.
“As we advance future technologies that could change the game for safety, we also need to make sure drivers know how to use safety features that are already available,” said Foxx. “Current safety features cannot save lives unless drivers use them, which is why MyCarDoesWhat promises to both educate drivers and save thousands of lives every year.”
The U.S. is on pace for the deadliest driving year since 2007, according to NSC estimates. Experts have said that the increase is likely the result of an improving economy and low gas prices, which has Americans driving more.
New crash avoidance technologies can help, but a recent study by the University of Iowa found most drivers are uncertain about the technologies and how they work. Forty percent of drivers reported their cars had acted in ways that startled or surprised them.
“Because vehicle technology can be a game changer, we’ve created MyCarDoesWhat to keep you safer in the driver’s seat,” said Hersman. “Knowledge enables you to be your car’s best safety feature.”
Rosekind added, “Technology has forever changed the way we drive, and this is just the beginning. We know these technologies can save lives, but if drivers don’t understand them, they will not meet their life-saving potential.”
T. Bella Dinh-Zarr, National Transportation Safety Board vice chairman, said, “We are entering a new era in vehicle safety, an era where we are no longer using technology just to protect occupants in a crash, but an era where we are using technology to prevent the crash altogether. But to realize this life-saving potential, consumers must understand the technology and its benefits.”
New public service announcements designed to raise awareness of the technologies launched recently online, at gas pumps around the country, in print and television.
“You may not realize your car has some of these technologies,” said McGehee, a human factors researcher. “But it’s important to know what they are, what they do and how to use them before you need them.”
Some of the safety technologies featured on MyCarDoesWhat.org include:
- Back-up camera
- Blind spot monitor
- Forward collision warning
- Anti-lock braking systems
- Rear cross traffic alert
- Adaptive cruise control
- Automatic emergency braking systems
- Lane departure warning