Let’s face it: there are more cars and drivers on the road than at any other time in U.S. history, and the sheer pace of modern life ensures that many behind the wheel are sleep deprived, distracted, over-confident in their ability or some combination of these risk factors.
Recently, Ford engaged research firm Penn Schoen Berland to conduct a study on driver attitudes towards new technologies that add to driver awareness, including features like lane departure warning, blind spot detection, adaptive cruise control with collision alert and rear-view camera systems.
In regards to on-road behavior, most findings come as no surprise; respondents almost universally considered themselves safe drivers, but many admitted to speeding, driving while distracted or driving while very tired.
When presented with features that could improve driver safety at a reasonable cost, most participants express interest. In the words of Penn Schoen Berlan managing director Billy Mann, “...drivers we talked to were definitely inclined toward features that provided real practical benefits by alerting them to potentially hazardous situations they may have missed.”
In other words, features like adaptive cruise control with collision warning are of significant interest for 90-percent of those participating in the study, while blind-spot and cross-path detection was deemed important by 66-percent of those in the survey. Eighty percent expressed interest in a lane-keeping system
for added safety when driving fatigued.
While safety systems such as these have been available on high-end luxury cars for quite some time, Ford is bringing them to its mid-size 2013 Fusion sedan
. While still optional and available only on SE and above trim levels, the advance in affordable safety is still significant.
Customers seem to agree. Per Amy Marentic, Ford Group Marketing manager, “More than 14 percent of the orders so far include the Driver Assist Package (Blind spot detection, Lane-Keeping System, auto high-beams and rain-sensing wipers), exceeding our expectations.”