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Many Canadians unfamiliar with several vehicle safety features: Poll

By COS Staff

Some groups of Canadians continue to be less aware of the existence or the functioning of vehicle safety features, according to a poll by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) in Ottawa.

In a new Road Safety Monitor  report by TIRF, Canadians were asked to rate their familiarity with six different vehicle safety features: brake override, electronic break force distribution (EBFD), brake assist (BA), electronic stability control (ESC), traction control (TC) and anti-lock braking systems (ABS).

Researchers found that the majority of Canadians continue to have limited familiarity with several vehicle safety features, with the exception of ABS and TC. In fact, the percentage of Canadians who said they were familiar with all other safety features remained below 35 per cent.

"Many of these technologies are rapidly becoming standard on newer vehicles across the automotive industry mainly because research shows they increase driver safety," said Ward Vanlaar, TIRF's vice-president of research. "The benefits of safety features, however, cannot be fully realized until drivers understand their function and are able to operate the vehicle in a safe manner by interacting appropriately with them."

In the follow-up survey, researchers also looked to identify specific groups of road users who are more likely than others to be familiar with vehicle safety features, such as males and those who reported driving more kilometers per month. This also means that some groups are less aware of the existence or the functioning of such features.

"Knowledge gaps among road users can erode the potential benefits of safety features," said Vanlaar. "These results from the RSM speak to the need for more awareness and education among varied groups of road users to increase their familiarity with the benefits and limitations of various safety features and how these features are linked to safe driving practices."

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