The huge array of in-car technology that is now packed into modern machines is distracting drivers from the road ahead, claims road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM). As a result many drivers are becoming oblivious to dangers on the road, as their cars feel more like living rooms on wheels than driving environments.
Further adding to the sense of complacency felt by many drivers, is the large amount of safety kit now standard on most cars, with many motorists feeling less need to concentrate on the road ahead, as they know that there are several electronic safety nets, should they make a mistake, states the IAM.
The new chief executive of the IAM, Sarah Sillars, has gone as far as saying that cars have become nearly too easy to drive, with drivers so confident in the safety of their machines that they are happy to dedicate more of their attention to fiddling with in-car technology than the act of driving itself. With sat nav, touchscreen media systems, Bluetooth phone connections and high-end audio systems all making their way into new cars, the IAM is now describing cars as “living rooms moving at 85mph”, reports the Times.
While the technology has moved on, the driver awareness, behaviour or standards have not run in parallel. We have a disconnect between the capability of the car and the driver.
Evidence suggesting that the standard of British drivers has plummeted comes in the form of an increase in the number of serious accidents on the roads, after years of steady decline. Over the last year nearly 25,000 deaths or serious injuries were recorded – a rise of four per cent. Similarly, the number of crashes involving children went up by three per cent to more than 2,000 – the first time the figure has risen since the mid-1990s.
Ms Sillars added that while the IAM encourages moves to make cars safer there is a belief that vehicles are, “almost too safe nowadays in relation to people’s expectations that they won’t get hurt.
“While the technology has moved on, the driver awareness, behaviour or standards have not run in parallel. We have a disconnect between the capability of the car and the capability of the driver.”
Picture: Jonathan Fleetwood