Which? produce ‘in-car technology charter.

Using in-car technology such as touch screens, integrated phones and satnavs can be distracting if used on the move, an investigation by Which? has found.

They tested the systems of eight of the UK’s bestselling carmakers and found many features difficult to use while driving. Although some car companies performed very well, other carmakers need to follow their lead and ensure their systems pose as little distraction as possible to motorists.

The publication has now created an ‘in-car technology charter’ with a 10-point checklist to make in-car technology systems less distracting which we will be discussing with the government, road safety bodies and carmakers in the coming months.

Which? Car editor, Richard Headland, says:
We found that the sheer number of ways to carry out simple tasks in the cars was baffling, and crying out to be simplified.
We know people want systems in their car that integrate audio, phone, satnav and other functions, but it’s time for the Government to step in and provide some strong guidance to focus carmakers on creating less distracting systems.”The charter:

  • Drivers shouldn’t need to look away from the road for more than two seconds at a time to operate a single device
  • The fewest possible inputs should be needed to operate devices. Developing better voice-recognition systems is strongly desirable
  • Key functions that need to be accessed every day need dedicated buttons (radio station/CD track selection, air circulation and heating controls), rather than being buried in on-screen menu systems
  • Steering wheel controls should be placed in convenient locations on the front of the wheel
  • Entering satellite navigation destinations should be disabled when moving
  • Centre console displays should be placed high up, so the driver doesn’t have to glance down at them. Smaller second screens in the instrument cluster (or a head-up display) are useful for showing key journey information and ‘next turn’ navigation prompts.
  • Pairing a mobile phone to the car via Bluetooth should only be permitted while stationary
  • Drivers shouldn’t be able to initiate phone calls while driving, other than via voice control. Accepting a call should also be simple.
  • While on the move, the car should ‘read out’ SMS messages rather than display text on a screen
  • Any internet, email, social media and TV/DVDfunctions should only be accessible when stationary.

About dbda
dbda is a corporate social responsibility consultancy embracing education and safety in the community. We are privileged to work with a large number of blue chip corporate clients, Government organisations, charitable bodies, Institutes and local authorities. We also have a network of schools, professional bodies, associations, universities and partners, with whom we regularly work in collaboration.

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