Thursday, January 07, 2010

Could New Dashboard Technologies Increase Driver Distraction?

Automakers and consumer electronics companies are collaborating to give automobiles even more technological capabilities. But could they also be creating new distractions for drivers? The New York Times reports that at the Consumer Electronics Show in New York this week, companies like Google and Intel are displaying 10-inch computer screens that can sit atop a car's gearshift and show high-definition videos, 3-D maps, and Web pages. In fact, Ford's new dashboard console, being introduced today, displays information about cell phone callers and digital music while simultaneously showing fuel level and other standard information about auto controls. And this fall Audi is introducing a system that allows drivers to access Internet information as they drive.

Auto engineers and marketers are describing these new advances as meeting consumer expectations, but some consumer safety advocates contend that the new automobile technology could lead to inattentive drivers. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is quoted as saying that he will speak out against the new technology. For statistics and resources about driver distraction, you can go to, which first aired on December 23, 2009. This National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) web site features statistics as well as information about state laws on distracted driving. The site also contains links to media articles and government research available on driver distraction, such as

Looking for more information on traffic safety stats and resources? Take a look at our guide.

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