Feb 27, 2012 8:42 PM by Matt Stafford
Nowadays; instead of, what's under the hood; a lot of people want to know, what's on the dash?
All the technology on dashboards has become a big deal to new car shoppers, but the federal government is telling automakers that it's time to tone it down. They say they want to cut down on diver distractions.
"When we do our surveys with the customers on why they purchased one make over another, the technology plays a big part in that," says Crissy Uptain, e-commerce manager for Phil Long Ford in Motor City.
"Please stay alert to changing road conditions," the SYNC system in a Ford Edge tells Uptain.
The U.S. Transportation Department is asking automakers to develop less distracting electronics. They put out guidelines for future dashboard devices; ones that don't require you to take more than one hand off the wheel at a time, or ones to keep you from looking away from the road for more than two seconds. The Transportation Department also has two more phases of guidelines they'd like to add next.
At local driving school MasterDrive, they're happy with anything that takes away from on the road distractions.
"A lot can happen in those seconds you're looking down," says MasterDrive employee Spencer Pace.
"People are trying to use cars like an office nowadays, and it's not an appropriate place to do those things," says Pace.
"The crash-rates are fairly comparable between drunk driving and distracted driving," Pace adds.
Pace says twenty percent of accidents are the result of distracted driving.
"You've got a one in five chance of being hit by somebody who's messing with something inside of the car," says Pace.
Other design changes actually put controls closer to the steering wheel.
"We've had a lot of consumers that like it just because there's so much they can do; they now don't have to worry about and don't have to multi-task," says Uptain.
Bottom line: technology or not; a big part is keeping the driver's attention on the road.