How Likely Will You Be to Crash Your New Car? Edmunds.com Launches Innovative Car Safety Research Initiatives
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — May 24, 2011 — Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, announced at today's Automotive Safety Conference a number of safety-related initiatives, including new research tools that will allow drivers to better understand and minimize the risks behind the wheel. In addition, Edmunds.com will publish vehicle accident risk ratings, driver visibility data and safety feature pricing.
Accident Risk Analysis
Edmunds.com already collects, cleanses and normalizes NHTSA complaint data and republishes summaries each month at http://www.autoobserver.com/car-data-center/safety/. But in an expansion of their efforts to organize and apply safety data, Edmunds analysts will be assembling accident risk assessment databases that use real world injury and fatality statistics to evaluate a driver's likelihood of getting into a traffic accident.
The Driver Risk Assessment tool from Edmunds.com will evaluate anonymous demographic data such as age, location, gender, marital status and driving history to assess a driver's risk and provide targeted advice to reduce it. For example, a younger driver might be encouraged to increase experience behind the wheel by taking a defensive driving course, while an older driver might be suggested ways to compensate for slower reaction times.
"The vast majority of accidents — over 90 percent — are the result of driver error," stated Edmunds.com CEO Jeremy Anwyl. "Driver behavior is the greatest risk factor, not vehicle choice."
Many consumers, however, do consider a vehicle's safety record when deciding on a new car, so Edmunds.com will support their research with a new set of safety ratings. Using NHTSA data, Edmunds.com will offer a database that scores the probability of accidents, injuries and fatalities for any given make or model that meets sampling requirements.
"Safety is not easy to define and many consumers look at crash test scores as a default measure of safety," said Anwyl. "But while crash test results might provide bragging rights to the automakers, they do not necessarily help consumers estimate their likely experience. This new database will package real-world accident data to inform consumers on how their cars have truly performed in uncontrolled and unpredictable settings."
For more on the challenges and benefits of using real-world accident data to evaluate car safety, please read Anwyl's commentary at http://www.autoobserver.com/2011/05/vehicle-safety-not-easily-defined.html.
Other Novel Safety Data
Many aspects of vehicle safety are hard — if not impossible — for consumers to research, but Edmunds.com is leading the way in making useful safety information more transparent just as it did with vehicle transaction pricing data more than a decade ago. Today, Edmunds.com announced that it will soon make it easier for consumers to compare safety option pricing.
"Pricing for safety-related options can vary wildly from one model to the next," said Anwyl. "Take blind spot warning, for example. On Audi's popular Q5, it is only available as part of an optional package that costs over $7,000. We think that raising awareness can pressure automakers to increase the availability and lower prices on these important options."
Additionally, Edmunds.com is adding useful safety tests to its vehicle evaluation regimen. For example, Edmunds.com will soon make available exclusive data on driver visibility captured at its new research lab in Marina del Rey, CA. Inside the lab, Edmunds editors and researchers are measuring the distances of front and rear blind spots on new car models. These blind spot measurements will be included with other standard model specifications on Edmunds.com, making it easy for car shoppers to use the safety metric as a point of comparison between vehicles.
An Investment in Safety
Edmunds.com strongly believes that a shift in the mindset of drivers can play a bigger role in traffic safety than any regulation could. In this spirit, the company announced at today's Safety Conference that it will donate $1.5 million worth of advertising space to run the Ad Council's public service campaigns that promote safe driving. The Ad Council, the leading producer of public service announcements addressing critical social issues, is currently engaged in several automotive safety campaigns covering child passenger safety, drunk driving prevention and youth reckless driving prevention, and reports that other safety campaigns are under development.
Finally, Edmunds.com is promoting a culture of automotive safety by encouraging drivers to sign a "safer driver" pledge. As cars and roads have become safer and felt more comfortable to drive over the last decade, people have automatically and unconsciously become riskier drivers. The goal of this pledge is to raise the level of awareness and the sense of responsibility on the road. Drivers can download, print and sign the pledge at http://www.autoobserver.com/2011/05/the-edmundscom-safer-driver-pledge.html.
"Driver and passenger safety is a priority not only for Edmunds.com but also for the millions of consumers we serve," said Jeremy Anwyl, CEO of Edmunds.com. "These commitments from Edmunds are only the beginning of what we expect to be a renewed effort by safety experts, policymakers and drivers everywhere to confront the myths and challenges examined at today's conference."
For more information on the expertise shared at today's conference, please visit Edmunds' Safety Conference library at http://www.autoobserver.com/2011-car-safety-conference/library.html .
About Edmunds.com, Inc. (http://www.edmunds.com/help/about/index.html)
Edmunds.com Inc. publishes Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site and hosts the most established automotive community online. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.edmunds.com, makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. InsideLine.com is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.insideline.com, features the wireless Web's highest quality car photos and videos. AutoObserver.com provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds.com Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan Edmunds.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edmunds.