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There was a time when the worst distraction to a driver was either changing the radio station or adjusting the HVAC controls. Now drivers have a few more items to contend with: cell phones; GPS navigation systems, CD changers; satellite radio; iPods; night vision; etc.

Conor Kelly wants to do away with all these new hi-tech distractions. The managing director for Merrion Fleets, which manages corporate vehicles in the private sector in Ireland, is tasking his fleet managers with encouraging corporate clients to minimize their use of hi-tech devices while driving.

“There is a need for companies to put road safety policies in place to ensure safer Irish roads," Kelly states, pointing out there are few fleet companies that provide any formal policies. He is working  to introduce strict guidelines in Merrion Fleet.

[Source: Motoring Life; image by avbuzz]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      I will speak for the Taxi industry here. Business owners who own their cars want as little tech in them as possible. The imnpression I get is that it is not so much distraction, but drivers breaking things. Many owners would love to see a car sold specifcally for taxi use here in the US with as fw options as possible. I have inquired about the London Taxi, but they never sent papers, I guess they are not that interested in the business I can send their way.
      • 9 Years Ago
      IMHO we need to deny use all of this hi-tech stuff because of number of crashes
      • 9 Years Ago
      People still eat and use cell phones while driving - these activities are huge contributors to accidents/reckless driving.

      I agree that it should not be through legislation, but application of common sense... too bad common sense isn't too common.

      All that said, interfaces for vehicle systems need to be seriously considered - tons of buttons, menus, etc. = bad design. Keep it simple.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Well, if I can't play with my iPod while driving, I'll just be forced to read the paper.
      • 9 Years Ago
      an increase or decrease in technology may not have any impact on the real problem: The world is full of a$$holes. People have always driven like fools and do not pay attention. Those same people will continue to do that. What is the difference between talking on the phone (headset/handsfree) or talking to someone next to you? Nothing. Radios were a big distraction long before any of these new technologies. What about dumb women putting makeup on while cruising at 75 mph? It is about dicipline and giving the act of driving a car the respect that it deserves. Idiots who do not know how to do that typically do not understand things like bluetooth or sattelite radio anyway.

      Bad drivers will find a way to be bad drivers.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Yes, it's absolutely amazing that the Irish would think of this first, considering that the Irish are not exactly known to drive farther than the next pub and the next pub and the next pub.....

      OK joking aside, it's valid and correct - it certainly can be seen by the "standards" of most drivers nowadays in virtually every country, that something must be done to bring driver's attention back to where it belongs.

      Paying attention to the road.

      Otherwise, the all knowing and all seeing (not Oz, you idiot - "big government") will just mandate robotized automated horizontal electric wheeled elevators in which we speak a destination and the "thing" moves us there with absolutely no input or driving from a human. Technically, car companies are "close" to just that. It's only a matter of politicians wanting to reduce on-road deaths once they continue to creep up and up and up.
      • 9 Years Ago
      We can abandon high tech gadgets altogether and go back to the horse and buggy! It's just a matter of common sense and restraint, not restrictions and guidelines...
      • 9 Years Ago
      How is a well-integrated iPod any different than a standard in-car radio?

      The only time I look at the display is when I am either still in my garage or am still parked somewhere. I just choose an album and then drive. The only time I interact with it while driving is pushing the "next track" button. It really isn't at all distracting because my iPod is mounted so the button is in reach and always in the same place.

      GPS and stuff can become a problem unless you are just cruising on the highway. GPS system makers keep the interface streamlined and keep interactions to a minimum after setting the destination (which should be done while parked).

      Mentioning CD changers is stupid too. Aside from loading and unloading CDs while driving (especially if it is a trunk-located unit ha) it is no more of a distraction than changing radio stations. Just pushing the button to go to a different disc isn't a distraction.

      Satellite radio is no different than normal radio in terms of distraction unless you are watching the song information while driving.

      The problem is people using handheld cell phones, or even cell phones with headsets, while driving. The problem is having a conversation with someone who isn't in the car with you. When you converse with someone who is actually in your car, it is much less of a distraction because they know when to talk and when not to talk (when you are avoiding an accident). People talking to you on a cell phone assume your 100% attention to the conversation which is very dangerous when you are operating heavy machinery at high speeds.

      I guess I'm a bit more of a purist than most drivers just by my personal beliefs, but people need to be more responsible and stop multitasking while driving. 99.9% of phone conversations can wait until you are home or parked. Stop eating and drinking while driving (drinking is ok when on a straight flat stretch of open highway on a long drive of course). People are just so damn distracted when they are driving.

      The message needs to be sent to the people who don't read Autoblog. Many people who read this are driving enthusiasts so we drive for the thrill of driving and for the fun of it and things like that. Most of the time when I'm driving it is just me sitting in my Protege5 with no music just listening to the beautiful revs of my exhaust. I am constantly scanning the road and I make clear and announced movements (lane changes, turns, etc). bah I hate people :P
      • 9 Years Ago
      #2..."because of the number of crashes" Huh? Statistics? What specific technology (high tech stuff in your speak) should we abandon?