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 per cent 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. Combine this with the appeal of ostensibly more tangible add-ons and the fact that dealers seldom have cars with extra safety features on the forecourt, and it’s apparent why the take up of safety options remains low, at just 3.5 percent.
Matthew Avery, director of research at Thatcham Research, a Stop the Crash Partnership member alongside Bosch UK, Continental Tyres UK and ZF TRW 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.”
The view of the Stop the Crash Partnership is that if motorists can apply pressure by demonstrating that safety is a ‘deal-breaker’ to encourage more manufacturers to fit safety technology as standard, as well as understanding the importance of premium tyres with adequate levels of tread depth, the number of accidents worldwide would reduce. For example, it has been found that AEB can lead to a 38 per cent 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.
David Ward, Chairman of the Stop the Crash Partnership said, “Consumer awareness is critical for the adoption of Stop the Crash technologies. This research shows how important safety is to the consumer, but highlights how this often fails to translate into safety options being purchased in the showroom. Manufacturers must offer safety systems with proven ability to save lives as standard.”
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:
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.”
The London Motor Show takes place from 5-7 May (media only day 4 May) at Battersea Park, London. The Stop the Crash initiative can be found at the demonstration area near to the entrance outside.
The Stop The Crash Partnership is led by Global NCAP, a platform for new car assessments worldwide, along with its partners for the London Motor Show, Thatcham Research, Bosch UK, Continental Tyres UK and ZF TRW. It aims to raise awareness of the disparity between driver opinion and buying behaviour to reduce the number of people who die or are seriously injured on British roads.
Note: The research is of 2,000 UK motorists conducted in April 2017. The 9 million drivers figure refers to a fifth of all registered drivers in Great Britain, according to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
 From Thatcham Research dealership survey 2016
 Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reported_Road_Casualties_Great_Britain