Are car infotainment systems safe?

October 12, 2015
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Are car infotainment systems safe?

Technology is becoming more and more common in every aspect of our lives, and it’s no different when it comes to cars. But is this step forward in technology actually making us less safe on the road?

Talking, texting, tweeting

Reuters recently published an article detailing how dashboard displays for the American market are becoming more and more like smartphones, with some of them even meaning that drivers can see tweets and texts on their display. They mention an Audi A3 specifically, which enables drivers to sync their phone to their car, upload photos taken on smartphones and request mapping to the place where the photo was taken and even reads text messages out loud, as well as showing them on the dashboard.

Mark Dahncke, a spokesman for Audi, told the Daily Mail: “’If you don’t provide something that is useful, people will just use their smartphones, and we all know that’s the biggest driver distraction there is.” But as technology in cars develops, mobile phones are becoming just one of the many things that can impact driver safety.

Buying decisions

According to the same Reuters article, market research company J.D. Power recently found that 15% of people won’t buy a car if it doesn’t have the latest technology, compared with just 4% last year. This shows that technology is becoming more and more important to car buying decisions than ever. But is it affecting safety?

Car manufacturers say that this isn’t the case, with the same Daily Mail article explaining that car companies believe that larger screens will make driving less dangerous because of the built-in voice controls and large touch screens. Yet, in America in particular, experts are starting to warn of the dangers of making cars too hi-tech. David Strayer, a professor at the University of Utah, explains to Reuters that the screens are enabling activities which take your eyes off the road for periods of time which is unsafe. “”You can’t be looking at a screen and be looking at the road at the same time,” he says.

According to, you can use hands-free phones, sat navs and two-way radios when you’re driving or riding, but it all comes down to being in control of your vehicle. If the police think you’re distracted or not in control of your vehicle then you could still get stopped and penalised, even with hands-free devices. The key is to be fully in control of your car at all times, which is why any in-car distractions like hi-tech dashboard systems are usually a pretty bad idea.

What do you think about in-car technology getting more in depth? Let us know in the comments section below.