Distracted driving accounts on average for nine deaths and 1,000 injuries each day in the United States. While a portion of these can be attributed to poor habits like texting while driving, there is a growing concern that today’s high-tech cars, with their multiple displays and infotainment features, may increasingly be at fault.
Even while providing safer, more economical transportation, tech-enabled vehicles can cause distractions from driving.
Displays Can Keep Heads Down, Not Up
Many cars and trucks today have a control panel in the middle of the dashboard, a smaller display inside the digital gauge cluster, and two or more screens in the passenger area for watching videos. That adds up to four or more displays in a single car or van.
The central display alone might have options for picking music, using a navigation system, adjusting the car’s performance/handling, accessing news feeds, and getting advice on places to shop and dine. That’s in addition to the capability to make and take phone calls. Beyond these first-level options, these systems also have sub-menus. That is a lot to keep track of while a driver’s primary job is to watch the road.
As far back as 2015, leaders at the Society for Automotive Engineers World Congress urged automakers that less was more. Their argument: Most motorists don’t need the myriad choices that carmakers offer, and the choices can be confusing and possibly dangerously distracting. One even said: “Vehicles on the road today are overladen with tools.” A car is a means of transportation, not a multiplex theater. Read More