The government wants to limit infotainment features and other mobile technology being placed in vehicles, as it tries to curb distracted driving.
As U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood puts it, the Feds want to “put safety before entertainment.”
Infotainment systems like the Ford Sync system in the 2011 Lincoln MKX and General Motor’s revamped OnStar allow drivers to remain constantly connected to multiple services like Facebook, e-mail, and text messaging. The influx of new technology in vehicles is to help drivers remain focused on the road, not their cell phones nor poorly-designed radio interfaces on center consoles.
Shouldn’t demand dictate the product supplied?
Costumers should have a wide variety of purchasing choices when it comes to what technology is offered in their vehicles. They may want a vehicle that connects to their cell phone so they don’t have to wiggle their hand into their pocket to answer a call, a very dangerous distraction.
Worse yet is texting while driving. The new technology allows the driver to dictate text messages, which is safer than trying to type a message out while on the highway with one hand on the wheel and constantly glancing down to make sure you correctly spelled “LOL.”
If consumers do not want the technology in their cars, then they will not buy the vehicles. If those cars aren’t purchased, then automakers should be able to respond and produce accordingly. But automakers are responding to the market, in trying to entice younger buyers into showrooms. Young adults enjoy the lure of new technology, and they're crucial for the future success of automakers.
LaHood is planning to meet with automakers to help develop guidelines for placing future technology into cars, but he did not set a timeline for achieving any specific goals.