New research suggests there is a technology arms race as the majority of drivers struggle to disconnect from mobile devices and this undermines safety advances.
A third of motorists said that the greater illegal use of mobile phones has reduced road safety, and another 26 per cent think that the safety benefits delivered by automotive technology are cancelled out by people using smart phones illegally behind the wheel.
The study of 1,000 UK motorists by Continental Tyres is part of its Vision Zero, a long term commitment to reduce road fatalities worldwide. The firm’s safety expert, Mark Griffiths, said: “Our latest research has identified a real tension between the present and future technologies and our use of mobile devices. There is a concerning race between the technologies – we are creating solutions to make us safer, yet motorists are jeopardising road safety by struggling to be disconnected.”
The research also found we are significantly more sceptical when it comes to promises being made. Those surveyed are 88 per cent more likely to now believe that manufacturers will exaggerate claims about what might be achieved with autonomous technology. We are also 11 per cent more concerned about autonomous vehicles being hacked compared with when the last study happened in 2015. Four in ten motorists find this a worry about driverless cars.
Griffiths continued: “When considering what automotive systems should be included in our vehicles to improve safety, the behaviour of motorists has to be taken into account. Though, it raises questions on whether motorists should be responsible for their own bad behaviour or the extent of which technology needs to save us from ourselves. We believe that motorists need to always think of safety, regardless of what fantastic technological solutions on the market there may be to help. Any safety device, feature or fitting should complement the safe and responsible behaviour of the driver, though the context of consumer behaviour is vital.”