Active safety is a mystery to most

31 October 2005 #SMMT News

The results of an SMMT survey released today (31 October) showed that most people are not familiar with the latest safety technologies fitted to new cars.

The survey, which sampled 110 people in central London, showed that:

  • 58 per cent of those asked could not name any active safety systems in a modern car.
  • Only 29 per cent named ABS, even though this is now standard on all new cars.
  • Just five per cent of drivers knew about ESP (electronic stability programme).
  • Six per cent of people were unable to name any active or passive safety feature.

Active safety systems are technologies that prevent accidents from happening; passive safety limits the effect of an accident on vehicle occupants or pedestrians.

Christopher Macgowan, SMMT chief executive said, ‘ Many of the latest technologies are becoming more common in new cars. What this survey shows is that most people are not aware of the many basic safety systems fitted to modern cars, let alone the investment in the latest active safety systems which are helping to drive down injuries and deaths on the roads.’

Other findings of the SMMT survey include:

To raise awareness, SMMT and RoadSafe are running a campaign to demonstrate the latest in safety technology as well as the dangers of driving at night.

Figures released by the Department for Transport last month show that road casualties have fallen significantly over the last 10 years. Improved car design has played a significant part in the reduction of casualties, as will better driver education, improved road design and better measures to prevent poor driving behaviour.


1. The survey of 110 people in central London, was undertaken by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. 
 2. 75 per cent of those questioned said they were drivers.
3. Since July 2004, all new volume production cars in the UK are now fitted with ABS – Anti-lock Braking System


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