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Published On: Fri, Feb 6th, 2015

Can Modern Technology Make Driving Safer for Canadians?

There’s a lot more technology built into every vehicle on the road today, but does this make roads safer for Canadians or does it make things more dangerous? The answer may surprise you.

Hands-Free Devices

One of the biggest changes in automobiles is the hands-free device revolution taking place in vehicles being sold today. A lot of car manufacturers are incorporating hands-free integration with a variety of mobile phone manufacturers, so that you can get in your car, sync your device with the vehicle, and use voice-commands to make and receive phone calls.

This is touted as a major safety feature because you’re not longer required to take your eyes off the road to make and receive calls, texts, or to update your Facebook status.

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Technologies like Cadillac’s CUE interface, and Chrysler’s UConnect gives drivers unparalleled control over their mobile devices.

Some technologies, like GM’s IntelliLink system go further. It’s a display-based system affectionately referred to as “infotainment” that uses Natural Language Voice Recognition technology. Drivers can set a “teen driver” limit on radio volume, speed warning, and also set a speed limiter.

The system can also mute the radio when the driver or front passenger’s safety belt isn’t fastened. A “report card” feature reports the mileage, wide open throttle events (when a driver “guns it”), ABS events (anti-lock braking system engagement, which may indicate sudden stops in emergency situations), maximum speed, and other important information.

The system features are locked by a PIN that is set by the parent.

This allows parents to better monitor what teens are doing out on the road with mom or dad’s vehicle.

The Problem With Hands-Free Devices

The problem with all of this technology is that there’s a lot of research that dashes marketing departments’ dreams. According to Peter Kissinger, president of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, hands-free is not risk-free, and our brains are not wired to multitask.

His opinions are backed by studies that find that voice-activated systems can be just as distracting and dangerous as using the device with your hands.

Watson Goepel, a Vancouver car accident lawyer, also sees the effects of this type of distracted driving. Car accidents are a major cause of injury and death in Canada, accounting for over 170,000 injuries every year.

Skill And Focus Still Important

Skill and focus are still important. Maybe it’s time to rethink the idea of technology whizzing around us while we drive. Maybe we should instead be more concerned about what’s happening on the road.

Put down your mobile, switch off the radio, and just drive. If you’re only driving a few miles, it’s probably not worth the fuss to set up all of your gadgetry anyway.

For longer trips, try to ride with a friend who can manage the gadgets, while you focus on the road. Of course, if you absolutely must listen to the radio, keep the volume at a reasonable level so that you can still pay attention to the world around you, especially other drivers.

Guest Author :

Cathy Hughes is a computer instructor who likes to keep on top of the latest innovations. An avid blogger, she enjoys sharing her insights online. You can read her articles on many websites and blogs.

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