Auto World News Feds Looking To Regulate Navigation Apps Like Google Maps Auto World News TechCrunch listed Google Maps, Waze, Apple Maps and Nokia Maps as navigation apps that would come under the new guidelines, which officials say would only…
I hope that the research they are doing isn’t as shallow as it sounds. There are plenty of arguments for and against Portable Navigation Devices (PND’s) and integrated OEM solutions.
For example to say that a mobile phone running the same car navigation system as a PND is more dangerous because you are looking at the phone at your windscreen shows a lack of research. If you are looking at a device running on your windscreen on a mount, whether it is your phone or a PND strategically placed, it causes minimal disruption to your view through the windscreen and you can compare the information with the road easily.
OEM systems are typically mounted in the area traditionally used for DIN slots where your car entertainment and climate control systems are typically housed. Look down there every time you want to confirm an instruction or detail and you are looking totally away from the road. Which do you think is more dangerous? How often do we hear about distracted driving from people looking away from the road. Whether its the navigation, changing station on the radio or wanting to see what a friend is listening to on Pandora, anything that gets a driver to look down towards their gearshift rather than out through the window has a conceptual flaw that can impact on safety.
I shudder back to the days when I used to see tourists driving with a paper road map on their camper-van steering wheel, peering through their windscreen and side windows trying to locate and then read a road sign and having to then orient themselves back on the map, while driving, because there is a law that says that wherever you stop, there isn’t a sign in sight.
Ford Sync is a good example of going in the right direction, but in my opinion, anything other than a well placed heads up display, is more distracting than using the DIN slot area on the dashboard, which is not only below the windscreen, but also to the side of the natural viewpoint. Why are the instruments directly above the steering wheel?
I am totally in favor of serious research and education in the area of distracted driving, but lets focus on facts and less on emotive issues. Let’s start with research into what causes the least distraction.
I like the research that TomTom has done with insurance companies that found that people using car navigation have fewer motor accidents than those without it (at a time when most nav is either from a smartphone or a PND. It also found that people that where did have accidents and were using nav, that the impact or damage / consequences of the accidents was less than for those who didn’t use nav.
When insurance companies do this research and share these types of findings, it is all about risk. They don’t want their clients having accidents, it impacts on their profit. I trust that research, because of their motives. Fewer accidents means greater bottom line profit. Surely the Feds would look at it the same way. If they want fewer accidents, they need to be asking the right questions.
Now if you’re talking about sending txt messages, using social media and even talking on a hands free phone kit while driving, that is distraction in my book. It has nothing with being in safe control of a powerful machine, sharing roads with other people, most of whom are not expert drivers. Being alert and listening (because most of the time you are not watching) to car navigation instructions is totally different to having business discussions, analyzing relationships, or the latest sporting event with someone who is not in the vehicle with you, are very different.
What do you think?