There seems to be confusion with car owners about safety features in their vehicles.

Applications such as lane-keeping assistance and reversing cameras or sensors are being switched off by drivers. Why? Because they find them annoying.

Blind belief

According to a new survey, almost half of drivers consciously switch off the added safety options. This is according to a joint survey by Brake and insurance firm Axa UK.

It finds that 41% of drivers have turned off features. However, at the same time,  82% of drivers surveyed consider the safety rating to be an important factor when choosing a new car. At the same time,  64% of drivers do not know or understand what safety features their car has.

Ross Moorlock, interim CEO at Brake, says that on ever busier roads, safety has to be the number one priority for all drivers.  “Technology is changing, the world is changing, so it is vital that safety is the primary factor in all decision-making about the future of road travel.

Moorlock continues that understanding your car, its abilities, the dangers on the road and being fully prepared driving is essential.  He says that “advanced vehicle technology can play a significant role in improving road safety”.

European lead

The research focused on a range of safety features that have been mandatory for all new vehicles in Europe since July 2022. These include intelligent speed assistance, automated emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance. But you can also add vehicle stability controls that have had a significant impact on reducing crashes.

Drivers were asked about safety features in their own car, whether they ever switch them off, and, if so, why? Almost half (46%) said they prioritise safety features when buying a new car, yet 41% said they had switched off at least one safety feature, mostly because they find it annoying.

The new report – ‘Vehicle safety systems and the future of driving’ – highlights a worrying lack of knowledge about the latest vehicle technology.


Both the road safety charity and the insurer are calling for robust legislation. They want to see mandated assistive driving technology in all new vehicles, in line with Europe. Alongside this, motorists need to understand the technology, buy into it and use it for the safety of all road users.

“We urge the Government to look at the evidence, listen to the overwhelming call for safety,” states Moorlock. He adds that we need to “follow Europe’s lead by making these safety features mandatory for all new vehicles in Britain”.

They are also calling for a new public awareness and education campaign. This could help people understand the safety benefits of technology that is already available. What’s more, vehicle sellers and manufacturers need to take responsibility for educating people when they purchase vehicles.

Nick Reed, founder of Reed Mobility, said: “The research undertaken by Brake and Axa UK is vital in building our understanding of vehicle safety systems, how they work, and which features are the most desirable.

Let the tech help

The report also recommends that safety is at the heart of new self-driving legislation. It is expected that the Automated Vehicles Bill will be brought in during 2024.

Axa UK strongly supports innovation in self-driving technology and its potential to improve road safety.

“As a leading motor insurer, road safety is incredibly important to us,” says Jon Walker, Axa UK’s commercial CEO. “We believe technology has the potential to significantly reduce collisions and make our roads safer.

“It is therefore worrying to see so many people switching off features on their cars that are designed to keep them safe.

“In other European countries, these features are mandatory,” adds Walker. “We urge the Government to put safety at the heart of its roads policy and ensure the public fully understands the benefits this technology can offer.”