Is a World of Web-Linked Cars More Accident Prone?

The federal government is asking automakers to stop creating in-car devices that can distract drivers from the road. Auto companies such as Audi, Cadillac, Nissan and Ford are among the many that have been including electronic devices with features for drivers to play around with, and now Facebook and Twitter are accessible features.

Article written by guest writer Rin Mitchell

What’s the Latest Development?

Federal guidelines, which are only suggestions by the government, are calling for automakers to tweak in-car devices to function only when the car is stopped. Automakers believe they are doing their part by coming up with new features to cut down on the use of smart phones while driving. Instead, drivers can access the internet from a similar built-in device right in front of them. A Ford spokesman stated that engineers have been working with Facebook engineers to create safer integrating techniques for their cars. From the perspective of an executive director at FocusDriven, the internet-based features “only serve to feed an already ravenous appetite for distracted driving.” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stated that automakers have a responsibility to ensure newly designed devices don't interfere with the driver's ability to pay attention to the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, out of 3,092 people killed in car accidents in 2010, 10 percent died due to a distracted driver. LaHood hopes that with a series of public-service videos about people killed in auto accidents by distracted drivers will help get car companies to take heed to the policy.    

What’s the Big Idea?

Government warnings to the auto industry about the dangers of web accessible devices that can cause accidents need to be strongly considered by car companies. Automakers are aware, but choose to continue enhancing their devices to keep up with the past time of their consumers. The new policy asks that car engineers create the devices to only function when the car is in park. 

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