Older Drivers and New Car Technology

Older Drivers and New Car Technology



As car manufacturers continue to introduce new technologies in their vehicles, blind-spot warning systems and back-up cameras are the technologies older drivers are most willing to adopt, according to new research by The Hartford and the MIT AgeLab. The Vehicle Technology Adoption Among Mature Drivers study found that mature drivers consistently favor technologies that improve driving safety, but some think certain advancements make drivers too reliant on technology.
Older drivers (defined as drivers ages 50 to 69) are most willing to adopt the following technologies out of a list of seven included in the study:
  1. Blind-spot warning systems
  2. Reverse back-up cameras
  3. Smart headlights
  4. Collision avoidance systems
  5. Lane departure warnings
Older Drivers, New Car Technology | ACT TWO MAGAZINE

Smart headlights help identify hard-to-see objects at night.

“In this study, we wanted to understand mature drivers’ willingness to adopt vehicle technologies,” said Jodi Olshevski, gerontologist and executive director of The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence®.   “These technologies are becoming more available in new cars today, so it’s important that all drivers learn how they work and how to use them effectively.  This is especially true for mature drivers, as many technologies can enhance the driving experience as we age.”

Purchase and Use of Vehicle Technologies

Older Drivers, New Car Technology | ACT TWO MAGAZINENinety-six percent of mature drivers reported that they would be willing to buy a car with at least one of the seven auto technologies in the study; nearly 10 percent indicated that they would be willing to buy all seven of the technologies.
A majority of participants also indicated they would be quite likely to use reverse back-up cameras, blind-spot warning systems, smart headlights, lane departure warning systems and collision avoidance systems if they had them. And a majority thought each of the seven technologies was worth having. Collision avoidance and blind spot warning systems were more likely to be perceived as worth having at any price than the other technologies in the study.
“Drivers who are experienced with technology in general, trust it, and see themselves as able to learn how to use it are more receptive to adopting vehicle technologies,” said Joseph F. Coughlin, Ph.D., Director of the MIT AgeLab. “These tech-savvy drivers feel more positively about vehicle technologies overall and are more likely to recommend that a family member or friend purchase a car with new technologies.”

Safety FirstOlder Drivers, New Car Technology | ACT TWO MAGAZINE

The study revealed that mature drivers believe the primary benefit of many vehicle technologies is to improve safety for the driver. Participants said that back-up cameras (78%), blind-spot warning systems (77%), collision avoidance systems (68%), lane departure warning systems (64%), and smart headlights (63%) were most connected to safety. Yet some mature drivers worried that other new technologies might make drivers too reliant on the technologies themselves, including parking assistance (42%) and adaptive cruise control (25%).

Most Older Drivers Not Ready for Driverless Cars

When it comes to self-driving cars, older drivers express more interest in “test-driving” a driverless car than in purchasing one. Almost three-quarters (70%) of participants said they would test-drive a self-driving car, compared to only 31 percent who would purchase one, even it if was the same price as a “regular” car. If a self-driving car and a “regular” car were the same price, more participants would buy the “regular” car (39%) than the self-driving one (31%).
Older Drivers, New Car Technology | ACT TWO MAGAZINE
To help older drivers learn more about vehicle technologies, The Hartford developed a free guidebook and an interactive video quiz. These resources and more are available at thehartford.com/cartech.
As the exclusive national provider of auto and home insurance for AARP members over the last 30 years, The Hartford has insured millions of drivers over the age of 50.
Vehicle Technology Adoption Among Mature Drivers is the Center for Mature Market Excellence and the MIT AgeLab’s third joint research project focused on vehicle technology and is a follow up to Top Technologies for Mature Drivers: Consumer Insights in 2013 and the Top Technologies for Mature Drivers: Expert Ranking in 2012. All three studies examined vehicle technology and driving safety for mature drivers.

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