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Consumer desires influencing auto safety feature availability

Posted by Smiley & Smiley on Aug 9, 2013 2:47:51 PM

It has often been said that in a capitalist society, the consumer is king. Of course, this statement is overly simplistic and is not always true. However, there are situations in which it seems like a bold statement of fact. We write frequently about the ways in which distracted driving is plaguing America’s highways and surface streets. Federal regulators, automakers and technological giants are now working continually to reduce the prevalence of distraction-related motor vehicle accidents. However, their efforts are being guided primarily by the principle that the consumer is king.

How can the consumer, who is often distracted and likes his or her distractions, be king in a matter of public safety? The answer is both frustrating and simple. Automakers compete with each other for consumer sales and loyalty. Unless constrained directly by the government, automakers thus aim to give consumers what they want. If consumers want distracting technology in their vehicles, automakers will likely put it there.

Similarly, automakers fail to install available technologies that consumers do not generally care to have in their vehicles. Technology exists that can halt the ability of drivers to access distracting electronic devices while vehicles are in motion. If drivers do not want this valuable safety technology installed in their vehicles, automakers will not aim to install it.

It is in this way that distracted driving efforts are influenced by the notion that the consumer is king. As a result, safety-minded drivers should advocate for anti-distraction technology not only with their lips but also with their consumer dollars. Only when they auto industry sees that American consumers want to remain safe from distraction will they respond by installing or failing to install certain technology.

Source: Automotive News, “Onboard device can help guard driver's safety,” David Sedgwick, Aug. 5, 2013

Topics: car accidents

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