Technological advancements have been pivotal to enhancing vehicle safety. Not all new vehicle technologies, however, end up having the impacts automakers expect, as some may actually contribute to driver negligence and increase the risk of a collision, a few recent studies have revealed.
In fact, two such technologies that have recently come under fire include:
- Head-up displays (HUDs), which present a transparent arrangement of information at the base of drivers’ windshields so that drivers can readily see important details about their vehicle and driving environment without having to move their head to look at the dashboard (or other areas of the car)
- In-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems, which allow motorists to control various elements of their in-cabin driving experience via voice commands.
Although one of the intentions behind developing HUDs and IVI systems was to reduce driver distraction, there are growing concerns that these systems may actually contribute to distractions.
Safety Concerns Associated with HUDs
HUDs may not be as safe or helpful as automakers had hoped because, as some transportation safety advocates have noted, these systems may overload distraction-prone motorists with more data.
Another major concern some have about the proliferation of HUDs in newer vehicles is that these systems are not currently regulated in any manner. In other words, there are not currently limits regarding what type of information can (or cannot) be featured on these displays. This has led some to worry that HUDs may soon be used to show ads, personal calendars, playlists or other information not essential to the task of driving.
As Russ Rader, a spokesperson for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has explained:
We just don’t know to what extent it could be a distraction… But if they proliferate widely, the organization could analyze whether they make a difference in crash risk.
Potential Issues with IVI Systems
With IVI systems, some of the major issues and concerns that researchers at the University of Utah noted were that these systems:
- Can require very specific, complicated commands – And remembering or invoking these commands can be enough to divert drivers’ attention from the roadway even if a driver may be looking at the road. This is because the focus on making IVI systems work properly can cause inattention blindness, resulting in a dangerous distraction for motorists.
- Can cause distractions for drivers even when driver issues the right commands – This is because IVI systems do not always have the best voice-recognition software, so they do not always end up working as they should. In fact, researchers found that even the systems with the easiest commands could distract motorists for as much as 15 seconds.
- Distract drivers for as much as 27 seconds – When IVI systems do not work properly, the distractions for drivers can increase, diverting their attention from the road for close to half a minute.
Contact Kingston Car Accident Attorney at Charles N. Rock, P.L.L.C.
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