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Technology Creates Dangerous Distractions for Drivers

Car manufacturers are building high-tech distractions into their new vehicles and have made interiors so comfortable that they are at risk of being turned into living rooms, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has warned.

According to the IAM, efforts to reduce distraction factors for motorists are being undone by the relentless pace of technology and the eagerness of car makers to pack more gadgets onto dashboards.

The main areas of concern are highly sophisticated satellite-navigation and GPS systems, smartphones that mirror tablets and easy connectivity of internet and social media.

The IAM has suggested the UK should adopt guidelines suggested by the US Department of Transportation and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, which say that drivers should be restricted from using certain non-essential forms of technology while the vehicle is in motion, and car makers should not introduce any technological development which takes the driver’s attention off the road for longer than two seconds.

US figures show that in 2011, accidents involving a distracted driver killed 3,331 people and injured another 387,000. For younger drivers, the problem is even worse. Car accidents are the main cause of death of teenagers (as it is for all people aged between five and 34), and a quarter of all teen-driving crashes in the US are attributed to distracted driving.

The IAM says that as technology constantly changes, continued education campaigns are required to reinforce and update the current laws.

“Technology could be a great way of helping to cut the numbers of people killed and seriously injured on our roads,” commented IAM chief executive officer, Sarah Sillars. “It would be a tragedy if technology became a reason why more, rather than less, people lose their lives.”

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