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Digital Dashboards – Safety Hazard

January 10, 2010

The Internet dashboard, or ‘infotainment system’ is the next in-car device that could cause a major distraction to drivers, says the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists).

Intel and Google are both looking into interactive dashboards, including 10-inch screens above the gear stick which will show 3D maps, web pages and even videos. Other similar systems are being previewed at trade shows.

Peter Rodger FAIRSO, IAM Chief Examiner, has commented:” If drivers were tempted to use the Internet or watch videos on the move, the results could be deadly,”

“If it’s not acceptable to read a novel while driving, how can it be acceptable to read a multimedia display? Just how much information can a car driver absorb and still drive responsibly?”

“There is a fine line between providing useful extra information and causing a dangerous distraction. This system appears to cross that line,”

“ Viewing things like restaurant reviews and venue information online while driving should be illegal, and it should be an offence to buy, sell, fit and transmit information for this particular use”.

The systems are not designed to be used on the move, but not all systems will be impossible to use while driving. One car manufacturer’s version, due out this autumn, bears the notice:

“Please only use the online services when traffic conditions allow you to do so safely”.

It should be made clear that the system should only be used when the vehicle is parked.


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