Volvo and Infiniti drivers? experiences with select crash avoidance technologies

Braitman, Keli A. / McCartt, Anne T. / Zuby, David S. / Singer, Jeremiah
Traffic Injury Prevention (TIP)
June 2010

Objectives: Vehicle-based crash avoidance systems can potentially reduce crashes, but success depends on driver acceptance and understanding. This study gauged driver use, experience, and acceptance among early adopters of select technologies.
Methods: Telephone interviews were conducted in early 2009 with 380 owners of Volvo vehicles equipped with forward collision warning with autobrake, lane departure warning, side-view assist, and/or active bi-xenon headlights and 485 owners of Infiniti vehicles with lane departure warning/prevention.
Results: Most owners kept systems turned on most of the time, especially forward collision warning with autobrake and side-view assist. The exception was lane departure prevention; many owners were unaware they had it, and the system must be activated each time the vehicle is started. Most owners reported being safer with the technologies and would want them again on their next vehicles. Perceived false or unnecessary warnings were fairly common, particularly with side-view assist. Some systems were annoying, especially lane departure warning. Many owners reported safer driving behaviors such as greater use of turn signals (lane departure warning), increased following distance (forward collision warning), and checking side mirrors more frequently (side-view assist), but some reported driving faster at night (active headlights).
Conclusions: Despite some unnecessary or annoying warnings, most Volvo and Infiniti owners use crash avoidance systems most of the time. Among early adopters, the first requirement of effective warning systems (that owners use the technology) seems largely met. Systems requiring activation by drivers for each trip are used less often. Owner experience with the latest technologies from other automobile manufacturers should be studied, as well as for vehicles on which technologies are standard (versus optional) equipment. The effectiveness of technologies in preventing and mitigating crashes and injuries, and user acceptance of interfaces, should be examined as more vehicles with advanced technologies penetrate the fleet.