Have Euro NCAP ratings had their day? Less than 1 in 5 new car buyers check safety

Just 18% of new car buyers now check the official safety ratings of their chosen motor before purchase, new research has revealed.

From the heyday of focusing on car safety in the 1990s and 2000s, today it is but a minor consideration, with most new car buyers expecting all vehicles to offer high safety standards.

Less than 1 in 5 new car buyers say they would check the Euro NCAP rating, according to a regular tracker by business intelligence firm Startline – but nearly 3 in 4 reckon all modern cars should meet the highest safety standards.

Despite this, only 1 in 3 believe that legislation can be trusted to ensure all cars carry effective safety tech.

"Motorists are surprisingly disinterested in industry safety testing such as Euro NCAP or even legal requirements around car safety. Most trust that the car they buy will be safe," says Startline CEO Paul Burgess. 

Burgess says the raft of safety features being built into modern cars – from multiple airbags to the huge list of safety assist tech mandated by the EU last year and now included in most new cars –  mean that most new car buyers feel safety is a subject that has been taken care of.

Just 28% of new car buyers now actively look for a new car with better safety, while only 15% say car dealers don’t provide enough information about safety when choosing a new car.

There is even growing anecdotal evidence that the latest mandatory safety tech could become a turn-off for motorists.

Many are frustrated with intrusive gadgetry such as lane-keep assist and standard audible speed limiters. While it is possible to disable this tech, it must by law automatically turn back on again each time the vehicle is restarted.

As more new car buyers experience this technology, the prospect of them switching from being disinterested in safety features to finding them a real turn-off may gather pace.

Ask HJ

Can I turn off lane keep assist?

I read today Judith Ridgers question on a replacement for an Outlander PHEV. I had one of the last of these and there was no lane assist. I replaced it with a Renault Astral which does have it but it can be switched on or off. It remains in the chosen state until the driver decides otherwise . So my question is what is the regulation referred to when Andrew says it has to turn on automatically when a car is restarted?
Most new cars are tested by independent crash test experts, Euro NCAP, and given a safety rating out of five. To be in with the best chance of achieving a maximum rating, lane support systems need to be fitted as standard without the ability to be turned off permanently. See the below quote from the NCAP safety assist collision avoidance protocol: "To be eligible for scoring points in ELK [Emergency Lane Keeping], the ELK part of the LSS system needs to be default ON at the start of every journey and deactivation of the system should not be possible with a momentary single push on a button." You can read the requirements in full here: https://cdn.euroncap.com/media/77303/euro-ncap-assessment-protocol-sa-collision-avoidance-v103.pdf
Answered by Andrew Brady
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