The Internet Has Now Reached Your Car’s Dashboard
It is well proven that texting or using a cell phone while driving dramatically increases the risk of an auto accident. Studies have shown that texting while driving can be more distracting and dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol. So why are auto manufacturers adding more distracting technological features to their lastest models?
Ford, Chevy, and Chrysler are all working on new dashboards equipped to handle transactions we are used to doing on our laptops. Ford’s new “in car connectivity” called “Ford Sync” lets the driver sync up to apps, read Twitter feeds, play iPods on demand and even read text messages to you. They are working on a system to read your e-mail, update your schedule and read articles from newspapers.
Ford claims that the new systems actually reduce driver distraction. When the secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, heard about the new technology laced dashboards, he immediately called the CEO of Ford concerned about the safety of this new dash. LaHood said he would compile his own statistics on the effects the internet dashboard has on driver’s distractions and safety.
As an Alameda personal injury lawyer, I have seen first hand how texting while driving causes serious personal injury auto accidents. I can only imagine how these new dashboards will affect driver safety. Independent studies need to be done on the safety of these new gadgets. Auto manufacturers have always been slow to adopt safety features in their cars–think seat belts and air bags. Relying on Ford or any other manufacturer to do their own safety studies on these high tech dashboards would be a mistake. Independent studies by the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration should be done.
Have You Driven a Smartphone Lately, Maureen Dowd, New York Times, February 26, 2011