Hear ye! Hear ye! We have obtained pertinent information regarding a new survey from autonomous car masterminds, Mobileye. In a study that “highlights the changing perspectives of Americans regarding vehicular accidents and new safety technology,” we’ve realized that drivers and pedestrians alike are too damn distracted. In its study of 1,078 adults between September 24 and 25, 2015, the online survey revealed that more than half of American drivers (54%) claimed they were only distracted 10% of the time or less while behind the wheel. Interestingly enough, this is the exact same percentage of people who admitted to being hit or almost hit by a vehicle more than once while walking within the past six months. I know that drivers can get a little distracted/impatient behind the wheel, but one in six Americans polled admitted to being hit or almost hit by a car at least once in the past six months while on foot.
What does this all mean, outside of the fact that most of us suck at driving? Well, according to YouGov, the company commissioned to conduct the poll, many Americans have experienced some pretty harrowing close-calls along America’s roadways, and an accident-free future is what we want. Emphasizing what it calls a “need for citywide stakeholders to increase their efforts to understand the distractions and infrastructure ‘pain points’ drivers experience,” Mobileye is adamant about making accident prevention a focal point for government, automaker, and pedestrian alike.
But pedestrians aren’t the only ones at risk of getting plowed over, as both cyclists and public transit/car service riders encounter serious dangers from distracted drivers, with over one-fifth (21%) of all cyclists who biked in the past month reporting that they have been hit or almost hit at least once, with 9% admitting that they’ve been hit or almost hit more than once in the past six months. One in six Americans (18%) reported they had been in a public or car service vehicle (taxi, city bus, Uber, Lyft, airport shuttle, etc.) that was in an accident of some sort, and 11% of people polled said they had not been in an accident while riding in a service vehicle, but knew someone who had in recent months.
Almost one-tenth said they made a trip to the hospital for an injury resulting from a car accident where the other driver was distracted, with one-eighth admitting that while they had never visited the hospital, they’d been in an accident caused by distracted driving. Millennials aged 18 to 34 were more at risk than any other age group to be hit by a vehicle (likely due to overabundant smartphone usage), with one-sixth of this demographic admitting to being hit or almost hit by a vehicle while strolling around in the past six months.
“Whether it’s a bus driver trying to navigate a crowded intersection or a car service trying to find the right gate at the airport, there are so many potential ways for a driver to be distracted that are beyond their control,” Yonah Lloyd, CCO and SVP of business development at Mobileye commented. “The hope for governments, municipalities, fleet owners, and car manufacturers tasked with addressing these challenges can be found with new technology available, including Mobileye, that can provide the tools needed for safe driving behavior.”
Unfortunately, the quantity and variety of distractions that both citizen and driver will likely face going forward are only going to increase, as automakers continue to turn toward tech in the hopes of preventing collisions. So what are manufacturers clamoring for, especially now that autonomous semi trucks are hitting the open roads of Nevada?
According to Mobileye, the top five in-demand safety features (reported by Americans who think high-tech safety features should be installed as standard on new vehicles) are:
- Forward collision warnings (71%)
- Pedestrian/bicycle detection (71%)
- Lane departure warnings (70%)
- Speed limit indicators (51%)
- Headway (tailgating) monitoring (49%)
Meanwhile, pedestrian/bicycle detection was the most popular feature for cyclists (go figure), with 75% of cyclists polled saying they think this should come standard on all cars, whereas nearly half of cyclists (46%) who have biked in the past month said they would feel safer with driverless cars on the road. This is in sharp contrast to the 31% who would feel safer with driverless cars on roads all across America.
Interestingly enough, millennials — the most at risk age group for getting hit by a car — were also the age group most likely to think driverless cars would make them feel more safe, with 38% of them vouching for this statistic. Just over one in ten Americans (11%) in the Northeast and one-seventh (15%) polled in the Western U.S. admitted to being hit or almost hit by a vehicle more than once while walking in the past six months, compared to just 5% in the Midwest and 9% in the dirty South.
All of this research goes to show that Americans are “incredibly open to embracing new technologies if it can create a safer driving experience for everyone,” says Mobileye. Once the NHTSA begins to incorporate active safety technology — much like what Mobileye offers — into star-safety ratings, there will be no limit to how safe cars will become in the future. “The auto industry is finally shifting gears away from its traditional focus on injury mitigation, such as seatbelts and airbags, to include complete accident prevention to further protect Americans in the years to come,” Lloyd says. Between Mobileye’s vision and data analysis being used more and more in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, and the rise of autonomous driving, there’s no telling where these findings could lead the auto industry. Hell, the company has already supplied safety tech to 23 automakers including BMW, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Volvo, Audi, and Hyundai. It’s just a matter of time until accident-free becomes the only way to be. Stay safe out there, guys.