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Distracted Driving - KC Star


Does this looks safe to you?  Get ready.  Apparently, this is the future of cars.

To me, it’s scary.  Here’s how the article in The Kansas City Star begins:

Behind the wheel of a 2015 Acura TLX, Danny Martin tells the car to shoot him a text message on his iPhone.

“Tell Danny Martin: ‘Isn’t there a lot of technologies in this car?'” he commands.

Technology is turning our cars into smartphones [Rick Montgomery at KC Star]

A potentially more frightening notion: the ability of a vehicle to sync to mobile devices is the main consideration in buying a new vehicle among younger drivers.

Further down in the article:

Ford’s updatable SYNC AppLink feature will enable motorists [read drivers] in 7 million cars to press a button and, with a few spoken words, notify Domino’s Pizza to make a home delivery.

While this may be convenient for some, is this what the rest of us want?  Do we really want 7 million Ford drivers distracted by whether to get pepperoni or mushrooms on their Domino’s Pizza instead of focusing their attention on the road?  Do we want millions of Acura drivers shouting text messages at their car’s interface rather than signaling their lane change?

And do you think that your voice-activated infotainment is a safer alternative?  Don’t bet on it.

A new study shows that driving with voice-activated infotainment is really distracting.

A handful of in-vehicle systems, as well as Apple’s Siri, were tested for cognitive distraction, and the majority of systems were found to be incredibly distracting – more so than having a conversation on a handheld phone.

Think all of this is bad enough?  Wait… there’s more!

Chuck O’Brien is driving on Interstate 35 in rush hour and, for half an minute now, he hasn’t looked at the road.

A multitasker by nature, he will command his Mercedes S550 to make phone calls, display on his dash the latest headlines out of Iraq, order up a channel on Sirius radio or wirelessly pipe in Pandora.  He will check e-mails on his iPhone 6 if he must.

My guess is that Mr. O’Brien is going to kill himself or someone else one day… even with his Mercedes Driver Assistance Package.

As the name itself suggests… these are driver assists.  They are meant to supplement the driver for greater safety, not take over driving like KIT from Knight Rider.

Technology has become integrated in our culture, but there are times when the phone should be set down.  Driving is one of those times.

© Copyright 2014 Brett A. Emison

Follow @BrettEmison on Twitter.

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