The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has released a stark warning about the increasingly high-tech kit available as standard or extra in cars. They have warned that car manufacturers are building vehicles which are packed with high-tech distractions and go as far as to say that interiors are so comfortable they are ‘being turned into living rooms’.
The warning has been released specifically by the CEO of IAM, Sarah Sillars, who asserted that efforts made by legislation and regulations to limit driver distraction are being constantly countered by new technology. Car makers are always finding new and innovative ways of adding gadgets to the car dashboard and Sillars highlighted that the main areas of concern were the highest tech Satnav and GPS systems and smartphones with all the technological prowess and effectiveness of tablets.
To counter this dangerous risk of distraction IAM suggest that the UK should put in place the guidelines that were laid out in America, by their Department of Transportation and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The American guidelines say that drivers should be restricted from using non-essential form of technology whilst vehicles are in motion and in turn car makers should not introduce new developments which take the car driver’s attention away from the road for longer than two seconds.
The guidelines in the USA are voluntary but they are to be phased in and promoted over the next three years as driver distraction has become a serious problem across the country. US Federal data shows that accidents involving distracted drivers killed 3,331 and injured 387,000 in 2011 and a quarter of all teen crashes in the US are put down to distracted driving.
The trends in the US are something the IAM are fearful of happening in the UK and with car manufacturers adding more and more technology to their vehicles they are giving drivers the green light to be passive.
New technology can be used in a wide range of ways to improve safety and our driving experiences but once it becomes a distraction it becomes a danger. Distracted driving means you can’t possibly be giving the road the attention it deserves, you may miss hazards or fail to slow down or stop in time.
Whilst technology should be used to make the roads safer in some instances it is becoming a risk. Being on the receiving end of an accident due to distracted driving may mean you can claim for compensation and perhaps the negligent driver will realise the risks they’re creating by focusing on anything but the road.