In-car digital distractions increase

Misuse of mobile phones in cars is not the only driver distraction as car manufacturers are shovelling more and more digital diversions into their vehicles.

Honda is even planning a dashboard-wide panoramic digital interface for its coming electric hatchback (check the images above and below).

The car will feature five high-resolution colour screens with safety and entertainment information such as rear and side cameras, a WiFi hotspot, Apply CarPlay and even a selection of background wallpapers to please the eye!Honda digital distractions

In the middle are two 12.3-inch LCD touchscreens with customisable apps that you can access by swiping with your finger.

Some of the information includes comprehensive weather forecasts.

Honda digital distractions

Do drivers really need a comprehensive weather app to see if it’s raining. Surely the droplets on the windscreen are a good indication!

Whatever happened to hanging on to the steering wheel and looking out the windows or at your mirrors?

Digital epidemic

The National Transport Commission has identified that current rules about distracted driving are not keeping pace with technology, leading to a plague of distracted-driving crashes.

However, instead of addressing this increase of in-car tech, they are seeking non-technological solutions to the road rules.

The NTC cites studies showing a task that takes a driver’s ‘eyes off the road’ for as little as two seconds can be particularly hazardous.

RACQ road safety officer and motorcyclist Steve Spalding says driver distraction is “proving to be one of the most challenging issues of road safety in recent years”.

Steve Spalding safety officer RACQ motorcycle awareness month of May
Steve Spalding

“The solution could be simple if all drivers complied with the law, eyes on the road, hands on the steering wheel and mind on the driving task,” he says.

It’s not just mobile phones that are increasing driver distractions, but also this plethora of onboard information being stuffed into modern cars.

If legislation is having trouble coping with the current invasion of mobile technology, how will it ever cope with the hi-tech entertainment being fitted to vehicles?

In Australia, distraction is a factor in 16% of injury crashes and a 2017 WA preliminary summary found that 28 fatalities (17%) were from inattention-related crashes, up more than 100% on the previous five-year average.


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