Cell phones garner a great deal of criticism for causing distractions at the wheel, but now automakers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are focusing on other possible car accident culprits such as advanced in-cabin car technologies.

Creature comforts like navigation, touch screens, steering-wheel controlled radios, and climate control are prompting associations in the car industry to publish guidelines to control and reduce in-car technologies for the safety of the consumer.

Guidelines are expected to debut this fall, as the NHTSA partners with automakers to establish best practices to reduce in-cabin distractions.

Rules for regulating in-car technologies

Automakers do not follow any established rules or regulations for developing safe in-car technology.

According to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, “information and communication” systems are not regulated. Members of the association, which includes most car manufacturers except Honda, follow their own company procedures and testing for reducing distraction, which vary greatly among automakers.

Some technologies are simply too distractive for most drivers. Touch-screen computers found in most Ford models used to control the radio, climate, and in-car navigation was said to be “overly complicated and distracting” according to Consumer Reports. And, some vehicles in the GM lineup offer communication tools to verbally update Facebook and Twitter pages – a feature too distractive for most drivers.

What does in-car technology mean for consumer safety?

The danger with in-car technology is the manual, visual, and cognitive distraction it provides, similar to that of texting while driving. While it’s a luxury to have sophisticated technology at your fingertips, compromising your safety isn’t worth the extravagant comforts.

Automakers must be cognizant of in-car technology and how it affects drivers behind the wheel. Now, with the NHTSA prompting regulation through established guidelines, consumers can rest assured their safety is being considered from every angle. Look for these guidelines to be released this fall.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident due to someone else’s distraction behind the wheel, a San Diego car accident attorney at the Law Offices of Michael Pines can evaluate your legal case free of charge. Call us at 1-858-551-2090 or contact us online.

For more information regarding car safety technology, and to read more on our sources, go to:

http://www.autoalliance.org/

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2011-01-17-howdistracted17_ST2_N.htm

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