Technology vs Distracted Driving


The technology makers are fast at work providing new cars with interactive dashboards, voice-activated functions and web-connected services.  Apple recently introduced CarPlay integration and Google will soon have its own Android-based version.  While it seems great to be able to dictate texts, answer emails, check your social media, and make telephone calls while on the go, many question if drivers’ minds will be concentrating on driving or connecting with unseen family, friends and business associates. The technology gurus say that drivers can still have their “eyes up front and their hands on the wheel” but consumer advocates, policymakers and AAA argue that it is still distracted driving.

This June look for a report to be released from the federation of motor clubs warning that hands-free, in-vehicle communications would be dangerous to drivers and others who share the road with them. Certainly we would all like to think we are capable of “multi-tasking” but more and more these days science is proving that there is really no such thing.  If a driver is busy dictating a text can they really be concentrating on driving down a busy highway, watching out for fellow drivers and pedestrians?  It isn’t likely.

Technology is doing many great things to keep us safer with such things as smart rear-view mirrors and alerting drivers if they are about to encounter a problem up ahead with another vehicle but until cars are completely driverless, is that enough?  There is much discussion on the subject at this time.  Some even suggest higher insurance premiums for those using car based smart-technology. Would the higher cost deter drivers from using the services? We know that the higher costs won’t necessarily make drivers less distracted so would we feel better knowing that someone driving distractedly has a higher insurance premium when they run into us?  I don’t think so.

It has also been suggested that certain functionalities of these in-car technologies cease when the car is actually in motion.  I can see it would be helpful to a driver to have technological help when trying to find a destination as opposed to looking at printed directions or a map while driving.  On the other hand, I don’t think they need to be checking their email or catching up on Facebook while the car is in motion.  

This is coming at us quickly so we will have to see what the policy makers decide.  Stay tuned!

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