Road safety campaigners have warned that touchscreen systems that allow drivers to check social media on the move could lead to a rise in deaths on the roads.
Most modern cars are fitted with complex entertainment systems that give drivers access to services such as music streaming and satellite navigation systems, while some even allow drivers to check websites including Facebook and Twitter.
Research by car insurers suggests that 90 per cent of crashes are caused by distraction. Although there are no specific figures yet on whether in-car entertainment systems have resulted in crashes, campaigners are warning that adding more distractions could have disastrous consequences.
Speaking to The Times, Gary Rae of road safety charity Brake said: “Sadly, the marketing people and not the safety people are in the driving seat with this technology.
“It is quite clear that transferring apps from smartphones to the dashboard is an enormous distraction and could lead to casualties on the road.”
The Institute of Advanced Motorists says that a new strategy is needed to stop manufacturers adding too many functions to entertainment systems “otherwise in 10 to 15 years we will be talking about a much more serious problem.”
It added that drivers can travel 30 yards without seeing where they’re going if they take their eyes off the road for just two and a half seconds at city driving speeds.
Despite the fact that Toyota’s ‘x-touch’ system allows drivers to access Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, Audi’s ‘connect’ system lets drivers read the news and Vauxhall’s new touchscreen allows drivers to send text messages on the go, car makers claim their systems are designed to be safe.
They argue that because much of the operation comes from steering wheel controls and voice commands, drivers don’t need to look away from the road.
After completing his university studies in English and Creative Writing in Cardiff, Jack is now a full time motoring writer at Blackball Media. His love of cars stems from his childhood years when he began to live and breathe all-things automotive.