The Road Safety Monitor is a unique, annual public opinion survey that takes the pulse of the nation on key traffic safety issues and tracks changes in behaviours, attitudes and opinions of Canadians by means of a telephone and on-line survey of a random, representative sample of Canadian drivers. In the past two decades, a wide range of vehicle safety features have been developed, tested, and installed in new vehicles to better protect drivers on the road under a wide range of conditions. Many of these technologies have become standard on newer vehicles across the automotive industry mainly because research shows they improve driver safety. Since 2011, to better understand gaps in driver knowledge concerning modern vehicle safety features, TIRF has collected data on driver familiarity with six important features: anti-lock brakes (ABS); brake assist (BA); brake override (BOR); electronic brake force distribution (EBFD); electronic stability control (ESC); and traction control (TC). These reports summarize knowledge gaps among Canadian drivers in relation to specific vehicle safety features.
The benefits of safety features are only achieved when drivers understand their function and use them correctly. Of concern, research in recent years suggests that Canadians are, to a rather large extent, unfamiliar with most of these vehicle safety features and the relationship of these features to safe driving behaviours and the road environment. It is paramount that drivers do not incorrectly over-estimate the benefits of these features, or become over-reliant on them to mitigate poor driving behaviours. The rapid changes associated with emerging safety technologies means that efforts are needed to ensure drivers keep pace with advanced technology. As vehicles become more automated, drivers must learn how to properly use the new features and understand their limitations.
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