Drivers sick of new cars' overbearing 'nannying' technology: study

All those fancy features that come with your new car might be a little more annoying than useful.

A new study from J.D. Power found that many drivers disable features like Advanced Driver Assistance Systems because the alerts are so bothersome. For example, 61 percent of drivers who said they were annoyed by lane-keeping and centering systems sometimes disabled the feature.

Some drivers said they wouldn’t want the “nannying” technology on their future vehicles, according to the study.

“Automakers are spending lots of money on advanced technology development, but the constant alerts can confuse and frustrate drivers,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction and human machine interface research at J.D. Power. “The technology can’t come across as a nagging parent; no one wants to be constantly told they aren’t driving correctly.”

J.D. Power surveyed more than 16,000 car owners with 2019 model-year vehicles at 90 days of ownership, looking at categories including entertainment and connectivity, collision protection, comfort and convenience, driving assistance, smartphone mirroring and navigation.

The study found some built-in apps were not as easy to use as drivers would like, and 29 percent of owners said they discontinued the use of those apps.

Most drivers who reported high overall satisfaction with their in-vehicle technology — 900 or more on a 1,000-point scale — said they would recommend the vehicle to others. So getting technology right could pay off for automakers.

“Consumers are still very concerned about cars being able to drive themselves, and they want more information about these complex systems, as well as more channels to learn how to use them or how and why they kick in,” Kolodge said. “If they can’t be sold on lane-keeping — a core technology of self-driving — how are they going to accept fully automated vehicles?”

New technology in cars can also be distracting. Last month, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released research showing how long drivers can be distracted by in-car gadgets while driving, greatly increasing their risk of crashing.


Here are the highest-rated models in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. tech experience index study:


Hyundai and Toyota C-HR (tie)


Kia Forte


Chevrolet Blazer


Ford Expedition

Compact luxury:

Kia Stinger

Midsize luxury:

Porsche Cayenne