A national safety campaign to assist drivers in understanding their vehicle’s lifesaving features was launched in Washington D.C. Wednesday, Oct. 7, by the nation’s leading transportation authorities. The PPC’s Transportation and Vehicle Safety Program director, Dan McGehee was among the speakers.
amid concerns that Americans are uncertain about how important vehicle safety features work—even those that have been standard for years.
McGehee, along with Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council (NSC). is one of the creators of the MyCarDoesWhat campaign. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Mark Rosekind were also present for the unveiling of the website.
“As we advance future technologies that could change the game for safety, we also need to make sure drivers know how to use safety features that are already available,” Foxx said. “Current safety features cannot save lives unless drivers use them, which is why MyCarDoesWhat promises to both educate drivers and save thousands of lives every year.”
The United States is on pace for the deadliest driving year since 2007, according to NSC estimates. Experts say that the increase is likely the result of an improving economy and low gas prices, which have Americans driving more.
New crash avoidance technologies can help, but a recent study found most drivers are uncertain about the technologies and how they work. Forty percent of drivers reported their cars had acted in ways that startled or surprised them.
“Because vehicle technology can be a game changer, we’ve created MyCarDoesWhat to keep you safer in the driver’s seat,” Hersman said. “Knowledge enables you to be your car’s best safety feature.”
“Technology has forever changed the way we drive and this is just the beginning,” Rosekind said. “We know these technologies can save lives, but if drivers don’t understand them, they will not meet their life-saving potential.”
The University of Iowa Public Policy Center has conducted original research and development, interdisciplinary research on how automotive technologies, driver behavior and performance and public policy interact for over 20 years. One of the focus areas has been improving technology design through a better understanding of human factors.
“As the lead partner, the University of Iowa was tasked with developing and leading a team that could implement a large-scale national media campaign devoted to highlighting advanced vehicle safety technologies,” said McGehee.
“The good news is that technology has made today’s vehicles safer than ever, technology that can now prevent crashes altogether,” he added. “Unfortunately, our research reveals a majority of drivers are uncertain about how the many new safety technologies work – even safety features that have been standard in vehicles for years.”
The MyCarDoesWhat campaign will help drivers better understand the latest safety and crash avoidance technologies, which means they'll be more likely to use them effectively as a result.