Although new infotainment and connectivity systems continue to work their way into modern automobiles, it worries Ray LaHood, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. With the risk of distracted driving already high, LaHood is toying with the idea of limiting the amount of gadgets automakers can install in new vehicles.
"Some of these car manufacturers are putting all these gadgets and bells and whistles that are going to distract people," said LaHood. "We're trying to get gadgets and bells and whistles out of their hands and out of their ears." LaHood has no immediate plans towards making in-car technology illegal, but said he'd "talk to the car manufacturers and see where this leads."
With more than 6000 deaths and over 500,000 injuries linked to distracted driving in 2009, it's certainly a subject that needs to be addressed. President Obama banned all government employees from texting while driving, and a similar ban was put in place for all commercial truck and bus drivers.
While some systems like hands-free phone connectivity help reduce the chance of distraction, automakers contest that more sophisticated infotainment systems are exactly what customers are demanding. Consumers continue to look for ways to integrate their digital lives with their driving, and unless legislation says otherwise, companies will seek to accommodate their demands.
Source: The Detroit News