Older Drivers Embrace Active Safety Features; Resist Autonomous Vehicles, According to Munich Re, US Survey

PRINCETON, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Older drivers are increasingly comfortable with and recognize the
benefits of active safety technology, but they are still reluctant to
relinquish total control to an autonomous vehicle, according to a
nationwide survey by Munich Re, US of drivers age 65 and older.

Approximately two out of three (63 percent) drivers over age 65 intend
to purchase their next vehicle with active safety technology. Blind spot
detectors (51 percent), a backup camera (43 percent) and automated
braking (31 percent) were identified by senior drivers as the most
sought after features. Of those surveyed, 44 percent said they would be
willing to pay more for a vehicle with active safety features if the
added cost is less than $5,000.

Drivers over age 65 are currently one of the fastest-growing demographic
groups in the U.S. and are more susceptible to accidents given the
challenges they face such as declining vision, decreased flexibility and
slower reflexes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHSTA). The NHSTA also notes there will be more than 40
million drivers on the road in this age group by 2020.

“Active vehicle safety technology has the potential to reduce crashes in
any age group, but may offer specific benefits for older drivers,” said
Mike Scrudato, Head of the Mobility Domain at Munich Re, US. “For
example, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that rear
cameras had the biggest benefit for drivers age 70 and older, reducing
the backup crash rate by 40 percent, compared with 15 percent for
drivers younger than 70 years old.”

When asked what they believe to be the greatest benefit of active safety
features for senior drivers, nearly half (41 percent) of the survey
respondents cited improved safety of elderly drivers, maintaining their
independence (19 percent) and reducing societal costs from accidents (13

While the results indicate that older drivers are comfortable with and
recognize the benefits of this technology, they are still reluctant to
relinquish total control to a car’s internal systems. Nearly half (49
percent) of respondents noted that they would be somewhat or very
uncomfortable riding in a fully autonomous vehicle.

The survey found that the majority of older drivers (53 percent) would
still prefer to drive themselves, even if ridesharing services were
available at a reasonable cost.

Mr. Scrudato added: “Autonomous vehicle technology has the ability to
transform the U.S. transportation ecosystem. While widespread adoption
may still be some years away, this technology carries a variety of
opportunities and potential risk exposures that governments, regulators
and the insurance industry must begin to prepare for now.”

For more information about autonomous vehicles and insurance, please
visit Munich Re, US Innovative
Solutions – Mobility


The survey was conducted online in the United States using Google
Consumer Surveys from October 1 to December 31, 2016, using a validated,
representative sample of 1,001 respondents age 65 and older.

Munich Re stands for exceptional solution-based expertise,
consistent risk management, financial stability and client proximity.
This is how Munich Re creates value for clients, shareholders and staff.
In the financial year 2015, the Group – which combines primary insurance
and reinsurance under one roof – achieved a profit of €3.1bn on premium
income of over €50bn. It operates in all lines of insurance, with more
than 43,000 employees throughout the world. With premium income of
around €28bn from reinsurance alone, it is one of the world’s leading
reinsurers. Especially when clients require solutions for complex risks,
Munich Re is a much sought-after risk carrier. Munich Re’s primary
insurance operations are concentrated in the ERGO Group. ERGO is one of
the leading insurance groups in Germany and Europe. ERGO is represented
in over 30 countries worldwide and offers a comprehensive range of
insurances, provision products and services. In 2015, ERGO posted
premium income of €17.9bn. In international healthcare business, Munich
Re pools its insurance and reinsurance operations, as well as related
services, under the Munich Health brand. Munich Re’s global investments
(excluding insurance-related investments) amounting to €215bn are
managed by MEAG, which also makes its competence available to private
and institutional investors outside the Group.


Munich Reinsurance America, Inc.
Jodi Dorman, +1-609-243-4533