Over Four in Five New Car Buyers Admit to Engaging in Distracted Driving Behavior; Men More Likely to Take and Make Calls While Driving

New Harris Interactive 2012 Harris Poll AutoTECHCAST(SM) Study Reveals Drivers Want to "Plug It In" Rather than Integrate More Technology

Jun 27, 2012, 09:57 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, June 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite a high frequency of self-reported distracted driving habits (84% of new car buyers reported one or more experiences in the average month), the adoption of safety technologies is of greatest interest among American new car buyers. Safety technologies like  back-up cameras, blind spot warning systems, and pedestrian sensors gained the most consumer interest over the past year compared to technologies focused on entertainment and comfort such as satellite radio and voice-activated controls. This is according to the 2012 Harris Poll AutoTECHCAST(SM) study released by Harris Interactive.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100518/NY06801LOGO)

On average, new car buyers admit to engaging in nearly 37 distracted driving habits in an average four week period. Many of the habits that topped the list were related to technology, including sending or receiving a phone call (11 times), drinking a beverage (8 times), texting (5 times), or emailing (3 times). New car buyers between the ages of 18 to 34 engage in the most distracted driving habits (up to 57 times in four weeks). Yet, the same age group has a lower frequency of making or receiving phone calls compared to new car buyers ages 35 to 44. When looking at gender differences, it's men who engage in distracted driving habits the most, especially when making and receiving calls (12 times) compared to women (10 times).

Thankfully, those that more frequently engage in distracted driving habits are more likely to consider safety and intelligent sensing technologies than others.

"While ideally these drivers should practice fewer of these distracted driving habits," stated Mike Chadsey, Vice President, Automotive Solutions Consultant, Harris Interactive, "it is also comforting to know that this distracted driving group is aware of the importance of safety features and is actively considering them for their next vehicle purchase."

"Plug In" Technology Options Win Out Over More Integrated Technology
As car manufactures anticipate what automobile technology consumers will desire most, many original equipment manufacturers are pondering whether they should enable docking and connecting for current technology, create their own technology features, or partner with technology firms to meet today's changing consumer demands. When evaluating consumer interest in automobile connectivity options, including built-in applications and options for docking smart phones, the study concluded that flexibility to "plug in" current consumer electronics wins out over integration.

Before exposure to a price, new car buyers prefer the option of smart phone docking over built-in applications, with 24% stating they would consider the option of docking their smart phone in their vehicle compared to just 14% who would consider having applications built-in. Once exposed to a price, consideration is just slightly less, at 20%, even though smart phone docking technology was priced $100 higher than built-in applications.

"Consumers are indicating that they want their automotive technology to help improve safety while giving them more flexibility, even if it costs a little more," added Chadsey. "Personalization is the future of the connected car. Drivers want to use technology they already know and love in their vehicles. By integrating technologies they already own, it also eliminates some of the technology usage issues plaguing the industry today."

Application Preferences
With technology becoming a greater part of our daily lives, new car buyers that desire docking features named the following smart phone applications as the ones they have on their smart phone: Google Maps (66%), Google Search (65%), and Facebook (64%). Pandora (41%) and Twitter (32%) were also prominent. For consumers that prefer their applications to be integrated within their vehicle, Google Maps (82%) and Google Search (65%) topped the list again, while Pandora (45%) and social networking apps including Facebook (35%) and Twitter (17%) were less preferred.

One category where consumers continue to demonstrate growing interest is the area of navigation systems. Among consumers that are likely to consider a navigation option, a majority (62%) prefer a built-in system, while 19% prefer a portable device and 11% prefer to use a smart phone application.

The 2012 Harris Poll AutoTECHCAST(SM) study provides insights and trends of preference for over 60 advanced automotive technologies. Among an array of topics, the study evaluates distracted driving habits, preferences for mobile applications within the connected car of the future, and the perceptions of time needed to offset premiums of alternative powertrain technologies.

To learn more about the 2012 AutoTECHCAST(SM) study, which is available now, please visit: http://www.harrisinteractive.com/Products/AutoTECHCASTUS.aspx

The Harris Poll AutoTECHCAST(SM) study provides the automotive industry with in-depth U.S. consumer research on over 60 advanced automotive technologies covering Entertainment, Exterior & Interior Comfort and Convenience, Intelligent Sensing, Lighting, Powertrain and Alternative Fuels, Safety, and Telematics. The 2012 Harris Poll AutoTECHCAST(SM) study was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive between April 9, 2011– April 30, 2012 among 11,925 U.S. adults ages 18 and over and who own or lease a vehicle model year 2007 or newer, have a valid driver's license, intend to purchase or lease a new (not used) vehicle, and are at least 50 percent involved in the decision to buy their next household vehicle. Results were weighted as needed for age, gender, education, region and income, and to properly represent U.S. vehicle segment owners. Propensity score weighting also was used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. 

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The Harris Poll AutoTECHCAST(SM) study results disclosed in this release may not be used for advertising, marketing or promotional purposes without the prior written consent of Harris Interactive.

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Press Contacts:
Corporate Communications
Harris Interactive

SOURCE Harris Interactive