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Older Drivers Embrace New Vehicle Safety Features

 

Older drivers are increasingly comfortable with, and recognize the benefits of, active safety technology, but they are still reluctant to relinquish total control to an autonomous vehicle, according to a nationwide survey of drivers age 65 and older by Munich Re, U.S.

Almost two out of three (63%) drivers over age 65 intend to purchase their next vehicle with active safety technology. Blind spot detectors (51%), a backup camera (43%) and automated braking (31%) were identified by senior drivers as the most sought-after features. Of those surveyed, 44% said they would be willing to pay more for a vehicle with active safety features if the added cost is less than $5,000.

Drivers over age 65 are currently one of the fastest-growing demographic groups in the U.S. and are more susceptible to accidents given the challenges they face, such as declining vision, decreased flexibility and slower reflexes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which noted there will be more than 40 million drivers on the road in this age group by 2020.

When asked what they believe to be the greatest benefit of active safety features for senior drivers, 41% of the respondents cited improved safety of elderly drivers, maintaining their independence (19%) and reducing societal costs from accidents (13%).

While the results indicate that older drivers are comfortable with and recognize the benefits of this technology, they are still reluctant to relinquish total control to a car's internal systems. Nearly half (49%) of respondents noted that they would be somewhat or very uncomfortable riding in a fully autonomous vehicle.

The survey found that the majority of older drivers (53%) would still prefer to drive themselves, even if ridesharing services were available at a reasonable cost.

 

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