Is car technology preventing accidents or causing distractions?

Human beings can make mistakes. However, making a mistake while driving can lead to a severe accident. Because of this, automakers and tech companies are developing car technologies that reduce the hazards of human errors, such as distracted driving or driving while intoxicated. However, some of the new functions in cars can cause distractions instead of eliminating them.

Automated safety technologies

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), human error causes 94% of all car crashes. To reduce the human error from the crash equation, carmakers are developing new technologies, such as cameras, radars and sensors that warn the driver about the possible risks on the road. These features are useful, but they do not replace the need for the driver’s attention. Self-driving cars are still not available in the market, and until then, people must have their full attention on the road while driving.

Risky technologies

Most car technologies aim to reduce distracted driving, which caused the death of 3,142 people in 2019. For example, drivers can now talk and send messages without looking at their phones with the hands-free mode. However, that does not mean that a driver won’t get distracted at all. Even though these technologies eliminate manual distractions, they do not eliminate cognitive distractions that involve the driver losing focus.

Additionally, some cars have big screens on the dashboard for entertainment or driving assistance purposes. Car companies argue that with those big screens, drivers can switch the music, look at the GPS and answer calls easier than if they had to look at the small screen of their phones. However, no matter how big or small the screen is, it requires drivers to take their eyes off the road. Car companies may have created these displays to reduce crashes. However, drivers can still get into an accident if they are constantly fidgeting with the screen.

Protection for drivers

Current drivers must not rely too heavily on their cars’ technologies. Increasing car technologies can reduce accidents by warning the driver about possible risks on the road or enabling them to leave their phones untouched. However, these technologies do not replace the driver but assist them.