Digital dashboards & distracted driving news

digital dashboardsDigital dashboards:A Louisiana legislator seeks to rewrite the state’s law regarding drivers and video screens. HB 387 would allow use of split-screen in-dash monitors, found in a few vehicles such as those in the Mercedes S-Class (SplitView). These dashboard screens allow front passengers to watch movies or television while the driver sees only navigational elements.

“Connected vehicle” systems and safe-driving technologies co-existed and co-mingled at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Toyota and Hyundai unveiled new wireless communications and data systems for their vehicles, while GM’s popular OnStar service announced it was expanding into other carmakers’ vehicles.

Ford rolled out its first electric car, with “wireless connected vehicle services” designed by partner Airbiquity.

DOT: The new Internet-related gadgets being installed by automakers led U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to open up a new front in his department’s war on distracted driving.

During September 2010’s second Distracted Driving Summit, LaHood said, “In recent days and weeks we’ve seen news stories about carmakers adding technology in vehicles that lets drivers update Facebook, surf the Web or do any number of other things instead of driving safely.

“Features that pull drivers’ hands, eyes and attention away from the road are distractions,” the DOT chief said.

LaHood met with the major automakers to set guidelines for entertainment and communications systems such as Ford’s Synch and GM’s OnStar. General Motors Co. CEO Daniel Akerson was at the top of the DOT chief’s to-meet-with list.

Facebook hits the road: GM isn’t backing off its plans to link up drivers with Facebook and Twitter. OnStar president Chris Presuss told the Detroit News in mid-October 2010 that the new OnStar functionality passed GM’s safety tests. “Not only is it safe — all things relative in the vehicle — it’s actually a benign activity,” Preuss said of the hands-free functionality. Ford says it isn’t planning a similar Facebook feature, but does plan to have its Sync system read Tweets to drivers. Sync already voices text messages to drivers and allows for user’s voice-initiated preprogrammed responses.

Thanks to Subaru: LaHood praised Subaru of America for its “Baby Driver” ad in which a father teaches his young son not to text or make cell phone calls while behind the wheel. Subaru’s Tom Doll said, “Staying focused on the road is a key element in crash avoidance, which is why our designers deliver a simple, clear dash layout in our vehicles and why we remind people in our ads to concentrate only on their driving.”


  1. THANK YOU…Secretary LaHood, I am behind you 100%..I am a teen driving instructor and teacher..It is impossible for us to teach highway safety when our teens are seeing so called experienced driver’s and their parents doing the opposite..Parent’s please help us out!!!

  2. Secretary LaHood, you do your thing with the automakers. Drivers have enough issues behind the wheel, they certainly do not need any more distractions. Thanks for all you do!!

  3. First off, as a rep who travels 200+ miles per day, I find that people who need GPS to get from point A to point B, should never have been granted a driving license to begin with.
    I watch idiots weaving all over the road at 75+ mph, as they fidget with their GPS device because they didn’t like the route it picked, so that they can drive to the same Piggly Wiggly they’ve been going to for 15 years.

    As for all the junk auto makers are installing in vehicles…
    If legislators were serious about ‘Distracted Driving’, heed this simple solution: force auto makers to install software that disables all this gadgetry until the vehicle is placed in ‘Park’. It can’t be any simpler than that. I use my cell phone a lot. I have NEVER once used it unless I pull off the road.

    Lastly, as for all you folks that can’t go more than two minutes without updating Facebook – you’re idiots!
    No one really cares what you are doing right now, and most people looking at your comments are thinking, “you’re a total loser in need of serious psychological help!”

    Get a life!

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