National Consumer Survey of Driving Safety Technologies - Technical Report

The National Consumer Survey of Driving Safety (National Survey) is the foundational component of the National Driver Safety Education Campaign. In January 2014, the University of Iowa (UI) Public Policy Center’s Transportation and Vehicle Safety Program received three grants totaling $17.2 million to fund automotive safety research and the development and implementation of a national education campaign to help drivers understand the safety technologies in vehicles.

The National Survey was conducted to examine drivers’ knowledge of vehicle safety systems, as well as their understanding and use of defensive driving techniques. The National Survey’s findings are guiding the National Education Campaign with regard to current consumer and public knowledge, and awareness of vehicle safety technologies. The National Survey dataset is the first of its kind to measure driver understanding of in‐vehicle technologies, measure gaps in driver knowledge and awareness, and gather information regarding how consumers might consume information.

The UI Public Policy Center conducted an online panel study that is representative of the U.S. driving public. The final dataset includes responses from 2,015 adult drivers across the United States.

The National Survey took a multi-faceted approach to the survey development process and data collection. The PPC and ISRC collaborated to develop the first ever National Survey of Consumer Driving Safety to measure the average American’s knowledge of vehicle safety systems. Additionally, the project team brought in Knowledge Networks, a nationally recognized leader on online survey research, to assemble representative Internet cohort panel samples and conduct the survey.

Purpose and Research Objectives

The research objectives of the National Survey were to:

  • Identify critical gaps in public awareness of vehicle safety systems
  • Gain knowledge regarding defensive driving skills currently used by drivers
  • Pinpoint the most effective messages and techniques for encouraging safer driver behavior
  • Improve awareness and use of active safety technologies in order to reduce crashes 


To view the appendices to this report, click here.

McDonald, A. B., McGehee, D., Chrylser, S., Askelson, N., Angell, L., & Seppelt, B. National Consumer Survey of Driving Safety Technologies - Technical Report. : University of Iowa Public Policy Center.