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Now Which weighsin on driver distraction problem


Article by: Darren Griffin
Date: 16 Apr 2012

pocketgpsworld.com
Back in February I wrote about the issue of in-car technology causing driver distraction (see here). In May the US US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration issued the first ever guidelines for in-car electronic devices, in a bid to reduce driver distraction.

Now consumer organisation Which? has said that touch screens, integrated phones and satnavs, installed in many vehicles, are too complicated to use. An investigation by Which? revealed that 70 per cent of drivers found in-car technology distracting and took their attention away from the road.

Which? magazine is now calling on the motor industry to adopt guidelines on the use of in-car tech and has produced its own charter which seeks to ensure that controls are made easier to use, displays are placed higher on the dash and that voice control is employed more widely.

Source: Which



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Comments
Posted by PedroStephano on Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:58 am Reply with quote

For me the problem is consistency as well. Every manufacturer is sooooo different.
Buy an Audi for example, and dedicate three hours of your life to RTFM and learning the steps to "drive" the various in-car menus.
Change your car? New manual, new steps, new functions. All part of the fun of buying a new car I suppose, but my solution is to have a PND that's transferable from one car to another, thus offering consistency of controls, less confusion and less distraction. And my iPhone. Naturellement.

I don't think Which? will win on this drive. There's far too much political clout amongst the car industry, and they all want to differentiate and meet customer demands, so I see all this technology as being part of the furniture for a while to come. Bad for distraction levels? Yes indeed. Every manufacturer different? Yes indeed.


iOS rokcs (but my typing - well....)
@PedroStephano

 
Posted by MikeB on Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:14 pm Reply with quote

I think someone at Which has missed the point here. A device may be complicated to use when setting a destination, but not when driving. Once your destination is set then you do not need to touch the device until you arrive at your destination. What is distracting about that?

Now of course people who try and program a SatNav on the move are a different kettle of fish. SatNavs are not designed to be operated whilst moving. The simple way of preventing these problems is to prevent user interaction whilst the device is on the move.

I also found the US guidelines laughable. In the US many states still allow you to use your phone in your hand when driving what is more distracting than that?

Are these institutions targeting SatNavs because they are more controversial and bigger news than regular cellphones? Is the result of this that these institutions get more publicity for SatNav bashing than cellphone bashing?


Mike Barrett
Editor, PocketGPSWorld.com

 
Posted by h5djr on Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:26 pm Reply with quote

I agree that Sat Navs once setup are not really a distraction at all. All you have to do is listern to the instructions. On most units you can even turn the screen display off as well.

I drive an Audi and what does worry me is the number of people on an Audi forum who are looking for instructions on how to stop the DVD or even television on the in-built system in the centre console from automatically turning OFF when are moving.

They always say it's so that the front seat passenger can continue to watch it, but it's fully in the drivers field of vision and I'm sure they are going to be looking at the screen at some times which will be potentionally very dangerous.


Dave R (h5djr)

TomTom XL + Audi A3 (with navigation)

 
Posted by Darren on Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:16 pm Reply with quote

To be fair to Which?, they weren't solely focussing on satnav.


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by Guivre46 on Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:22 pm Reply with quote

....and why is TT putting social networking functions on its devices?


Mike R [aka Wyvern46]
Go 530T - unsupported
Go550 Live [not renewed]
Kia In-dash Tomtom

 
Posted by Andy_P on Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:37 pm Reply with quote

h5djr Wrote:

....what does worry me is the number of people on an Audi forum who are looking for instructions on how to stop the DVD or even television on the in-built system in the centre console from automatically turning OFF when are moving.

They always say it's so that the front seat passenger can continue to watch it, but it's fully in the drivers field of vision and I'm sure they are going to be looking at the screen at some times which will be potentionally very dangerous.


... and illegal.

From here:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200102/ldhansrd/vo020114/text/20114w03.htm

Quote:
Under Regulation 109 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, it is an offence to drive a motor vehicle on a road if the driver is in such a position as to be able to see, whether directly or by reflection, a television screen showing anything other than information:

(a) about the state of the vehicle or equipment;
(b) about the location of the vehicle and the road on which it is located;
(c) to assist the driver to see the road adjacent to the vehicle;
(d) to assist the driver to reach his destination.


"Settling in nicely" ;-)

 
Posted by h5djr on Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:19 pm Reply with quote

Andy_P Wrote:
h5djr Wrote:

....what does worry me is the number of people on an Audi forum who are looking for instructions on how to stop the DVD or even television on the in-built system in the centre console from automatically turning OFF when are moving.

They always say it's so that the front seat passenger can continue to watch it, but it's fully in the drivers field of vision and I'm sure they are going to be looking at the screen at some times which will be potentionally very dangerous.


... and illegal.

From here:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200102/ldhansrd/vo020114/text/20114w03.htm

Quote:
Under Regulation 109 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, it is an offence to drive a motor vehicle on a road if the driver is in such a position as to be able to see, whether directly or by reflection, a television screen showing anything other than information:

(a) about the state of the vehicle or equipment;
(b) about the location of the vehicle and the road on which it is located;
(c) to assist the driver to see the road adjacent to the vehicle;
(d) to assist the driver to reach his destination.



The fact that it is illegal doesn't seem to come into it.


Dave R (h5djr)

TomTom XL + Audi A3 (with navigation)

 
Posted by Cunninar on Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:40 am Reply with quote

"An investigation by Which? revealed that 70 per cent of drivers found in-car technology distracting and took their attention away from the road."

Beware misleading statistics - headline number implies that given 30m plus drivers (conservative estimate) on the road they have surveyed 21m of them to get this result. Ridiculous and yes, I am a statistician and understand sampling. There is no contextual data here to prove the stats. Did they include the drivers who are distracted by looking at the speedo (in car technology!)?

I also have a gripe about the "Killed or Seriously Injured" stats bandied around to do with speed camera and road safety. Killed is a definite number, but seriously injured is subjective. A badly cut finger needing stitches could be construed a serious injury, but is a long way from death. It is time these figures were split and categorised correctly to prevent the council and government money grabbers from conning us all about the real statistics.


 
Posted by M8TJT on Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:54 am Reply with quote

Cunninar Wrote:
Beware misleading statistics - headline number implies that given 30m plus drivers (conservative estimate) on the road they have surveyed 21m of them to get this result.
Surely that is not the inplication here. They surveyed all 30M drivers and 21M were distracted. Or did they mean (say) 70% of those surveyed
Cunninar Wrote:
I also have a gripe about the "Killed or Seriously Injured" stats bandied around to do with speed camera and road safety. Killed is a definite number, but seriously injured is subjective.
But surely, as a statistition, would you not use the KSI figures to 'prove' the positive effect of speed cams, as the KSI figures make a better headline however misleading they may be. It's only statititions and the cynical who don't believe these figures. Like the makeup ads on TV who say that 80% of women think it's great (out 188 women asked). Hardly a reliable and representative sample size of the 30 odd million women in UK I suspect. But it does give the impression that it's good (unless you are cynical or a stat.....)


 
Posted by joneskdale on Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:40 am Reply with quote

I love technology and my car is full of it. And I've had SatNav since it was on the first PDA's. I don't generally find technology distracting to the contrary it gives me something to keep my interest on the journey and alert. All these statistics comparing reaction times etc don't reflect real life. Yes if you measure the times for someone's best reaction times when they are fully concentrating on driving you will get a faster reaction time, but in reality drivers are not always concentrating on the driving there are many distraction and peoples start thinking of what are the cooking for dinner or the attractive young lady in the office next door.

Where I do find technology distracting / dangerous is when it doesn't work properly. You are following the satnav and then just as you come upto a junction it decides to restart and needs you to re-enter the destination. Or you voice dial your partner and it starts calling someone who you don't want to speak to. In these situations you find yourself feeling you need to fix it now, and not at time when it is convenient/safe. It also make you more aggressive and irritated which can reflect in your driving. I'm sure you all have experienced this in the past.

As long as Technology is used at the right times and it Works reliably it can be a great safety aid and can help the drivers overall concentration. But when it goes wrong it can be a distraction.


 
Posted by eclaire on Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:02 am Reply with quote

The new cars have so much on the menu you can page through - averages, data, fuel consumption and all that sort of irrelevant stuff personally I find that much more distracting than a sat nav.


 
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