Survey finds a car’s image is more important to young drivers than safety

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20th August 2015 15:06 - Automotive

As a result of the findings from a recent survey by Brake, the road safety charity, and Direct Line, young people have been warned to put Survey finds a car’s image is more important to young drivers than safetysafety first when looking to buy a new motor.

The key finding of the survey was that young people put less of a priority on the safety of a vehicle, and more on the image, when buying a new car.

Safety technologies were ranked in third place on a list of factors which influence the respondents’ decision when buying a new car, below reliability and fuel economy.

Of the respondents, just 48 per cent said that safety was one of their top three most important factors to consider when car shopping. Amongst the drivers aged 17 to 24, the figure was even lower, with just 37 per cent ranking safety in their top three factors to consider, with the brand of the car ranking higher, with 39 per cent.

A feature becoming increasing important to the car-buying decision are infotainment systems, which are unrelated to driving. The systems are fitted into many new cars and allow drivers to use social media, as well as other things, whilst driving. Of the respondents aged between 17 and 24, 21 per cent said that they would like an infotainment system and 17 per cent said that it’s the most important feature in choosing a vehicle.

Although an infotainment system has potential to be a major distraction when driving, any attempt to multi-task behind the wheel increases the chance of a crash by two or three times.

The research also revealed that many drivers are not engaged with important industry safety standards, such as Euro NCAP. A Euro NCAP five star rating is the easiest way to be sure that a vehicle is protecting both the driver and other people on the road, however, just 23 per cent said that it was something they sought when car shopping.

Deputy Chief Executive at Brake, Julie Townsend, said of the findings:

“Vehicle safety technology has come on leaps and bounds, and a large part of the casualty reductions we have seen in recent decades are likely to be attributable to this. It is important that all drivers take advantage of these advances as much as possible, to protect both themselves and the people around them on foot and bike. When choosing a vehicle to drive on public roads, safety should always be the number one consideration. However, any vehicle is ultimately only ever as safe as the person driving it, and choosing the safest possible vehicle still needs to be combined with legal, considerate driving.”

As well as Townsend, Gus Park, Director of Motor at Direct Line said:

“Our research shows that younger drivers are most at risk of a crash; however less than half this group chose safety in the top three considerations when buying a car. New cars are now more likely to be fitted with ‘infotainment’ systems, so we’d urge drivers to be sensible. As with mobile phones, a moment of distraction could potentially costs lives.”

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