Vehicle Technology Preferences

Looking Forward: Mature Drivers Share Insight on Safety Technology

Vehicle safety technologies are increasingly available on new car models. Do today’s age 50 and older drivers “happen” to have new cars with these technologies or are they actively seeking out such safety features?
The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence® and the MIT AgeLab conducted their fourth in a series of research projects on vehicle safety technology. In this survey, they explored: the preferences of drivers age 50 and older for vehicle safety technologies now and in the future; their views on the ability of vehicle technologies to extend their years on the road; and their perception of the role of self-driving cars in ensuring their future mobility.

Research Findings

The survey, "Looking Forward: Vehicle Technology Preferences Among Mature Drivers," reveals that 76% of drivers age 50 and older who plan to buy a new car in the next two years will actively seek out high-tech safety features and would most like:
  • Blind spot warning systems (87%)
  • Crash mitigation systems (85%)
  • Lane departure warning systems (79%)
  • Smart headlights (78%)
Vehicle safety technologies today are increasingly available on new car models. While many drivers age 50 and older may “happen” into having such technologies on their new vehicles, in the coming years more will actively seek out such technologies.

Vehicle Technologies and Driving Longevity

The majority of drivers age 50 and older – 75% – think having safety technologies in their vehicle will help extend their safe driving years. These drivers say they:
  • Will feel more comfortable and confident while driving (38%)
  • Will feel safer while driving (29%)
  • Think technology will compensate for their driving difficulties (28%)

Vehicle Technologies and Driving Habits

Many mature drivers already adjust when and where they drive so they feel comfortable and safe.

Of those who currently limit their driving:
  • 50% would be more willing to drive on the highway if they had crash mitigation systems
  • 41% would be more willing to drive long distances if they had adaptive cruise control
  • 39% would be more willing to drive at night if they had smart headlights
  • 36% would be more willing to drive in heavy traffic if they had traffic jam assist

Top Five Reasons for Driverless Cars

Drivers age 50 and older would consider purchasing a self-driving car if:
  1. It was proven as safe as driving themselves (56%)
  2. Their health prevented them from driving (48%)
  3. It helped them stay connected to friends and family if they could no longer drive (27%)
  4. It was cheaper than a regular car (26%)
  5. It was recommended by someone they trust (17%)
Overall, 35% of drivers age 50 and older would be willing to use a driverless car if they could no longer drive safely; 42% are unsure and only 24% would not be willing to use one.

As car manufacturers rapidly introduce new vehicle technologies, it is important for drivers to learn how these features work and what the benefits may be.
Download our guide, En el asiento del conductor, for more information about vehicle technologies.
Zeldis conducted an online survey of drivers over the age of 50 across the United States for The Hartford. The survey – Looking Forward: Vehicle Technology Preferences Among Mature Drivers – was fielded in March 2016 and a total of 2,015 surveys were completed. The data were weighted to match U.S. Census current population survey benchmarks. Using a 95 percent level of confidence, the margin of error is +/- 2.2 percent.
This information is intended to help individuals who seek information about vehicle technology and safety. It is not intended to be an exhaustive source or to relate to a particular vehicle, driver or driving situation. Readers are advised to consult the appropriate professionals to assist them in analyzing their situation.

AARP Smart DriverTEKSM Workshop

AARP Smart DriverTEK Workshop New car technology is changing the way we drive. It’s important to understand these new systems so you can stay safer on the road. AARP’s Smart DriverTEK workshop is a FREE 90-minute workshop developed jointly by AARP Driver Safety and The Hartford. During the workshop you’ll learn about new car technology, what intelligent features might already be in your current car and what to look for when buying, leasing or renting a new car.
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