Mobility, safety take the wheel at Washington Auto Show

car displayed inside a convention

The Annual Washington Auto Show is fast approaching, and right now it looks like mobility and safety will be taking the spotlight this year.

On Jan. 22, the Washington Convention Center plays host to the 74th Annual Washington Auto Show, located in the heart of the nation's capital. Every show since it began in 1942 has had a theme, and in this year's version, it's "The Power of Mobility."

To further explain this theme, and what it means for the auto industry, there will be two keynote speakers: Mark Rosekind, Administrator for the National Highway Safety Administration, and Honda Executive Vice President John Mendel.

"As the Washington Auto Show puts it, 'the power of mobility' is a force that, literally, transports our lives to new vistas and possibilities," Rosekind explained, who will address the thousands expected to attend on Thursday, Jan. 21 during a special preview. "With new technologies from automated driving to improved blind-spot monitoring, we also have the opportunity and responsibility to put safety first."

Drivers not using many safety technologies

An increasing number of new vehicles today come standard with top-of-the-line safety technologies like blind-spot monitoring, back-up cameras, forward collision warning, and rear cross traffic alert. However, many of today's new-car owners admit that they rarely use these features, as discovered recently in a poll conducted by J.D. Power and Associates. The survey found that of 33 different technologies, 1 in 5 drivers confessed to never using half of them.

Organizations like the National Safety Council are trying to better inform consumers about these features through public awareness campaigns as well as through Internet resources, having recently launched the website The site aims to help new-car owners make sense of safety technologies so that they can protect themselves as well as their most precious cargo.

Also delving into the Washington Auto Show's theme will be Honda VP Mendel, who heads a company that has brought safety innovations to its lineup of automobiles.

Geoff Pohanka, Chairman of the Washington Auto Show, said that Honda and modernization are practically one in the same terms.

"Honda has become synonymous with innovation," Pohanka said. "We are proud to set the stage for this company's game-changing leadership and ideas."

Over 700 vehicles on display

While Rosekind and Pohanka are expected to "rev" the Washington Auto Show's engine, there's plenty of road left to travel over the course of the nine-day convention. More than 700 vehicles, from 42 manufacturers will be on display for car aficionados to admire, including 2016 models like BMW's M4 GTS, Ford's Mustang GT, Acura's MDX, and the family-friendly Lincoln MKX. Cadillac will have a 2017 model on display with its XT5 as well. Some of the show cars will be available to test drive.

If the automotive "guests" weren't enough, there'll also be a host of celebrities paying a visit, having a look see for themselves what 2016 has in store. Be sure to check the Washington Auto Show's "Schedule of Events" section to get a rundown of who will be in attendance as Jan. 21 draws closer.

Motor on over to the Washington Auto Show; it promises to be a "car-vention" unlike any other.