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

The Stop the Crash partnership calls for urgent industry action to address the car safety conundrum

– Four in five motorists say that safety technologies are important when buying a car

– But a fifth – 9m drivers – refuse to pay extra for safety features even if it reduces the chance of having an accident on the road

– The Stop the Crash Partnership proposes a three point plan to inspire urgent action from the industry

– Buyers must be persistent in discussing safety tech when purchasing a new car

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(1) per cent.

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.”

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:

1.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.

2.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.”

3.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.”

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(2).

1 From Thatcham Research dealership survey 2016

2 Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reported_Road_Casualties_Great_Britain