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Women drivers want safer cars

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Women drivers in the UK place safety as their number one priority when buying a car, but are 30% less likely to know about certain safety features than men, according to research by the eSafetyAware! Campaign for the AA. Generally two out of three UK car buyers who place a high priority on safety when choosing a vehicle have little or no knowledge of new features that will protect them and their families.

Research carried out across Europe for the eSafetyAware! Campaign, a joint venture that includes the European Commission and European motoring organisations including the AA, shows that 71% of Germans know about Electronic Stability Control(ESC) and other new safety features – compared to only 41% of UK drivers1.

Women are involved in seven out of 10 car purchase decisions in the UK but are 30% less likely to know that the newer safety features are available to them.

These features include: ESC, blind spot monitoring, lane support systems, speed alert, and warning and emergency braking systems. The study also showed that people are one third more likely to choose eSafety systems when they are aware of them and would be willing to pay more to have these systems fitted.

Last summer a pan-European survey by the FIA Foundation showed that Britain’s car showrooms were lagging behind other European countries in telling their customers about ESC. It is quite likely that the same applies to other safety features. Only 18% of staff gave information about ESC without being asked. Even when asked, staff showed bad product knowledge about ESC – one in five knowing that it reduces the risk of skidding and only 36% knowing it worked in all weather conditions. Only one in seven sales people focussed on safety as an important feature while the “look” and price of cars was mentioned more often.

Commenting, Edmund King, AA President, said: “Women are very influential in the purchase of 7 out of 10 new cars yet are not as well-informed as men about modern safety systems that can be life-saving technology.

“Some car showroom staff still promote price, style and performance over safety yet our research shows women rate safety as their number one priority. Buyers can’t be expected to know about modern safety features, which can be a closed book to those who don’t read car mags, motoring supplements or watch car television programmes. They should leave the showroom knowing the full facts.”

Jean Todt, eSafetyAware! President, said: “Far too many motoring consumers are still unaware of the life-saving potential of eSafety systems. For those of us that know about these technologies, and their potential to save lives, the choice is very straightforward.”

1 “Car users’ acceptance of eSafety technologies” eSafetyAware!

The GB section of the survey covered a total of 50 dealerships in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff and Edinburgh. Similar surveys were carried out across nine other European countries