U.S. Drivers Fear Gadget Distraction, but Embrace It Anyway
Threat or thrill? Both.
Three-quarters of Americans fear that too much in-car connectivity, such as entertainment centers, can cause dangerous levels of distraction, according to a survey of 2,634 U.S. adults aged 18 and older by polling firm Harris Interactive.
Yet almost 60 percent of those same people said that they felt safer having more advanced technology in cars.
That's one of several contradictions in the poll, which was conducted in mid-May and had results released this week.
Regarding safety concerns, sentiment was pretty consistent across the generations, with those concerned ranging from 71 percent of what Harris calls the "Echo Boomer" generation (aged 18-35) to 79 percent of "Matures" (aged 67 and older).
Another fear about technology among those surveyed was that it would allow companies to know too much about how and where people drive.
Sixty-two percent of respondents had that fear (although the survey questions didn't suggest to respondents who those "companies" might be). Forty-one percent of respondents feared driving data could somehow get back to their insurance carriers and cause premiums to go up.
Americans were also torn about whether technology made the ride more fun or less fun. Sixty-one percent of respondents agreed with the statement that they see their cars as a "haven from the outside world" where they don't want to always be connected.
But the nearly the same percentage (58 percent) said that entertainment and connectivity technology made the ride more enjoyable.
That reflects a larger dilemma in society: While most people want to have the latest tech, they also fear that it can be intrusive.
In terms of safety, one explanation for the contradiction might be the kind of technology Harris was asking about. The survey found that "safety technologies such as back-up cameras, blind-spot warning systems and pedestrian sensors" were more popular than entertainment centers and Internet connections.
But when it comes to useful devices, most poll respondents preferred to bring their own: 24 percent of those surveyed said they would like the ability to dock their smartphones to access entertainment content and get an Internet connection, while only 14 percent would want that technology build into the car.
Hewing somewhat to stereotypes, desire for in-car technology generally went up as age went down. Sixty-seven percent of Echo Boomers and 63 percent of Gen Xers (age 36 to 49) said that the presence of in-car technologies would be a factor in the car they bought, versus just 46 percent of Baby Boomers (50 to 66 years old).
Interestingly, the Baby Boomers seemed to be the most old-fashioned generation. The desire for in-car gadgets went up again, to 57 percent, for the older Mature generation.
This story was provided by TechNewsDaily, sister site to SecurityNewsDaily.