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How “Smart” Car Dashboards Could Distract Drivers









Will Smart Car Dashboards Contribute to More Car Accidents?

In the last few years, more and more car manufacturers have been toying with the idea of introducing smart dashboards to their cars. Some are already working with prototypes at the experimental level. Smart dashboards aka digital instrument panels are meant to replace the current separate and manual dashboard controls with a bigger touchscreen display. The idea is very exciting to consumers, and car manufacturers keen to make their vehicles stand out are getting ready to supply them. Even though such displays look amazing even at the experimental level and have a certain futuristic vibe to them, their potential to distract the driver is very high.

Car manufacturers argue that the fact that these displays will be bigger and linked to voice-controls reduces their distraction potential and that they are a better alternative to driver’s fumbling with their smartphone controls. However, many experts disagree with this. Most say that such dashboards will enable activities that will take a driver’s eyes off the highway for durations longer than what most experts find to be safe. For instance, most of these dashboards would be connected to your phone so that you will not have to take it out to read a message when you receive one. The text would simply be displayed on your screen. However, the fact that this text is displayed there will make you want to read it. This will take your eyes off the road for a few seconds more than you would normally take to check out the speedometer or fuel level on the normal dashboard display. You might then end up finding yourself in a situation that will have you contacting your car accident lawyers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), recognizing the fact that these displays have the potential to cause distraction, have come up with a voluntary guideline on how auto manufacturers should implement smart dashboards in their vehicles. One of the proposals is that there should be no displays such as videos or photographs, particularly when the car is in motion. A video will definitely take your mind off the road while a photograph can make you want to comment or send one of your own. Either of these can easily distract a driver and take his or her mind off the road.

Another guideline proposed by the NHTSA is that no task should require a driver to press a button more than six times to complete it. The thing about smart dashboards is that they will be acting like Smartphone touchscreens. You will have to press some buttons a couple of times to select things within menus before you get to access, let’s say, a specific satellite navigation map, or to reach your digital fuel gauge. This will distract you not only mentally but also physically as you hand will be doing the pressing. Not having both of your hands on the wheel reduces your control of the vehicle.

Even though the threat of distracted driving is very real in cars with smart dashboards, so is their appeal. As the world advances technologically, it will be inconceivable for a car to be made in the next three to five years and not have a smart dashboard. Legislators at the state and national level should be working extra hard to make regulations that will make smart dashboards less distracting to drivers.

A number of states have come up with their own regulations on smart dashboards meant to prevent distraction. More and more parties are urging the adoption of the above-mentioned NHTSA guidelines and other guidelines that have already been enacted as law in other states. These recommendations would definitely go a long way in making motorists safe.

If you have been injured in an accident with a distracted driver, then you are entitled to file a claim. Contact us now and we will assign one of our award-winning car accident lawyers to help you put together a strong claim that will guarantee you maximum compensation.

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