Why In-Car Technologies Might Not Be Increasing Passenger Safety
Most consumers want the latest and greatest technologies, even in their cars. When shopping for a new car, people not only compare miles per gallon and cost between different vehicles, but now they are looking at whether the car has Bluetooth and other technologies. Because car makers know consumers are looking for more communication and entertainment technologies in their vehicles, they are constantly trying to find a balance between giving consumers what they want and increasing passenger safety.
Unfortunately, many communication and entertainment technologies actually lead to driver distraction and auto accidents. While most drivers are aware that texting while driving could increase their chance of crashing, many drivers don’t realize that certain in-car technologies could also do the same thing. While some technologies like navigation systems might not seem like a distraction, other technologies such as Wi-Fi hot spots are obviously likely to distract drivers.
Studies show that more and more drivers are surfing the Internet and emailing from behind the wheel of their cars. According to a survey conducted by State Farm, the percentage of drivers who admit to accessing the Internet while driving doubled in a two-year period.
Newer Features Are Not Necessarily Better
Because there is such a demand for Internet access in moving vehicles, many auto makers are now offering high-speed Wi-Fi hot spots in vehicles. While this connectivity is primarily for passengers, there is nothing to stop the driver from also taking advantage of the access to check email or update a social media post.
It appears the message to not text and drive has reached most drivers. Many states are cracking down on texting and some motorists have signed pledges not to text and drive. However, as car manufacturers provide better and easier access to information in their cars, the number of potential distractions multiplies. Whether a driver is texting, checking Twitter, or emailing from the driver’s seat, the chances of being in a crash increases when a driver takes his or her eyes off the road. Before you choose a car with all the technology bells and whistles, be sure you and the other drivers in your household are committed to distraction-free driving.