Two in five motorists turn off vehicle safety features because they find them ‘annoying’, according to new research.

In a survey conducted jointly by road safety charity Brake and insurance company Axa, 41% of drivers revealed that they switched off at least one safety feature, such as lane-keeping assistance and reversing cameras. 82% said they considered the safety rating an important factor when buying a new car, but only 36% knew what safety features their individual vehicle had.

The research focused on the range of safety features that have been mandatory on new vehicles manufactured in Europe since July 2022, including intelligent speed assistance, automated emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance.

“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,” said Ross Moorlock, interim CEO at Brake. “It is clear that people want themselves, their families and their communities to be safe on the roads. It is also clear that advanced vehicle technology can play a significant role in improving road safety and prevent a great number of families and communities from needless suffering.”

Brake is calling for a public awareness campaign to make people understand the safety benefits of the technology within their vehicles, and to encourage motor manufacturers and retailers to educate drivers on safety features.

“As a leading motor insurer, road safety is incredibly important to us”, said 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.”