Driving Today

Do Drivers Worry About Distraction?

New survey says U.S. drivers like advanced communications but are concerned about the technology.

Drivers like connectivity and helpful features, but they are also wary about getting too caught up in them. A survey from Altman Vilandrie & Co. and uSamp shows that half of U.S. drivers say that potential distraction issues would discourage them from buying new automotive media features like navigation or Wi-Fi. But drivers are also conflicted. The survey reveals strong demand for in-car technologies, including wireless communications and advanced navigation, and that desire provides new opportunities for automakers and wireless carriers, especially when it comes to younger drivers.

“The car is the new frontier for wireless devices and new technologies, but drivers are clear they don’t want it to be the Wild West,” says Altman Vilandrie & Co.’s director, Jonathan Hurd, who oversaw the research. “The desire for new, cool technologies is balanced by concerns over safety, so the manufacturers that best balance these conflicting priorities will enjoy success in this burgeoning market.”

Consumers aren’t just conflicted; there is also a profound difference in attitudes between younger and older drivers. Forty percent of 18- to 24-year-olds say that in-car media significantly influenced their most recent car purchases, a rate more than twice than that of older drivers. The media features that most people want are voice-controlled navigation and real-time traffic updates. Seventy percent of drivers were also interested in the opportunity to turn their vehicles into wireless hot spots to enable Internet access for laptops and tablets.

The survey reveals a mixed view of the use of driving data that can be collected by today’s high-tech cars. While 70 percent express privacy concerns over the potential use of their personal driving data by automakers and wireless carriers, more than one-third say they hope to have their insurance rates determined by monitored driving habits. Hurd notes that despite the buzz over new in-car technologies, “adoption of automotive media will be slow until providers and auto manufacturers can set consumers’ minds at ease regarding safety on the road and privacy of personal information.”

 

 



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