Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-WV, held an all-day summit on Thursday to discuss the dangers of using modern technology while driving, during which an ad that Mazda aired during the Super Bowl was used as an example of the worrisome future towards which we're headed. While seemingly innocuous at first glance, the ad, which can be seen below, shows a brief glimpse of a driver using the Mazda Connect infotainment system in a Mazda3 to check/update his Facebook page while driving down the road.

Officials from major communications companies like Samsung, Google and Apple attended the summit, as well as representatives from automakers including General Motors and Toyota. A representative from Mazda was not present despite the company's own currently available technology being used as the poster child for the issues being discussed.

According to Automotive News, Senator Rockefeller warned the automaker and communication execs on hand that he will propose legislation to regulate the use of technology while driving if they don't work together to implement their own standards more quickly. Michael Robinson, GM's vice president of sustainability and global regulatory affairs, argued that his company has had distracted driving guidelines in place for 15 years since the advent of its OnStar system, noting that the technology in question has also helped the automaker save lives through automatic crash detection and calls to 911.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 68 Comments
      Yoggie
      • 10 Months Ago
      Infotainment systems like these are going to be the reason that self driving cars take off, not the desire for safety or fear of driving.
        Greg
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Yoggie
        However, safety and productivity are much stronger arguments.
      Josh Barker
      • 10 Months Ago
      This is so stupid. Does no one realize that the APP that is being used is actually 'AHA" which uses 'radio stations' for your social apps. So, basically - you open up AHA and link whatever you want to it - and it'll read the content from that station. In this case - facebook. Or it could be Yelp. Or Twitter. Or whatever else they have on AHA. The AHA app was designed SPECIFICALLY for the reasons they specify - so you won't feel the need to pick up your phone and check your facebook while driving. Check out the aha webpage....
      subzerohf
      • 10 Months Ago
      I agree with the senator. Either the industry come together with a standard, or else the government will come up with one.
      citroen_2cv
      • 10 Months Ago
      If I make a car I don't want my brand in the same sentence with F******k.
      Hazdaz
      • 10 Months Ago
      I'm surprised they weren't Twittering every 5 minutes while driving! Enough with this garbage. People already do this sh!t, we don't need to both encourage it AND make it easier for them. NO ONE needs Facebook or Twitter while they are goddamn driving.
      6thGear
      • 10 Months Ago
      The Mazda Connect infotainmaint system does not allow Facebook and Twitter updated by the driver while driving. It reads out FB, twitter and text message posting to the driver. Mazda does not even allow Navigation address changes via the touch screen while the car is in motion. This is what happens when people do not do enough research before jumping to conclusions.
        rubley00
        • 10 Months Ago
        @6thGear
        Its still unnecessary. There is no reasonable need for being notified of some garbage posted on twitter or FB.
        icemilkcoffee
        • 10 Months Ago
        @6thGear
        Yes, but a lot of times all it takes is snipping or shorting out one wire, to permanently fool the head unit into thinking the car is stationary.
      to your email L
      • 10 Months Ago
      Again a corporation-Mazda STILL DOESN'T GET IT DO THEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      fred schumacher
      • 10 Months Ago
      All this infotainment stuff in a car is dangerous. Besides the obvious problem of distraction, we're learning from brain research that we have much less ability to multitask than we think. When my son was learning to drive he kept turning the radio volume up. I said that noise was distracting his attention. He disagreed, but a few years later he told me I was right. When you drive, your job is to drive. Period. Full stop.
      TIMMAH!
      • 10 Months Ago
      [FB Status Update]: Going to Work [FB Status Update]: Driving Car [FB Status Update]: Surprised by Stopped Traffic on Freeway [FB Status Update]: Crashing Into Car Ahead of Me [FB Status Update]: In Pain, Bleeding [FB Status Update]: Waiting for EMT...
      rubley00
      • 10 Months Ago
      I hope the person who decided to include social updates in the Mazda dies in a fiery death because of a distracted driver. Morons. Make this stuff illegal right now.
        Val
        • 10 Months Ago
        @rubley00
        as well as radio, climate controls, heated and ventilated seats, and so on.
          Bruce Lee
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Val
          It's not a false equivalence, all this feature does is let you select facebook and then the car will read your friends' facebook updates to you over the speakers...how is that worse than radio?
          rubley00
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Val
          That's a ridiculous false equivalence. Nice try
          clquake
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Val
          Bruce, do you talk back to the radio and expect an answer? If you do, I think, mobile technology is not for you.
        MPLS612
        • 10 Months Ago
        @rubley00
        Then Navigation in vehicles would have to be illegal as well.
          rubley00
          • 10 Months Ago
          @MPLS612
          Many cars lock out features when the car is in my motion, my current car and my previous car lock out address entry in motion. False equivalence
      Dump
      • 10 Months Ago
      Just bcuz we can do it, don't make it a good idea. OK, in-vehicle data access was inevitable. But using it to actively use Facebook, Twitter, etc - while driving - is just plain stupid, immature, irresponsible. Most of today's drivers can't be trusted to wait until they can stop/pull over to respond to Text Messages, what's going to convince them to stop their cars to LIKE a FB post or to FAV a silly Twitter pic. Having access to social sites will increase the number of "distracted" drivers exponentially. Much of the new in-vehicle tech should be used to provide info about the car or the surrounding vehicles only.
        Val
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Dump
        If they can't be trusted to pay attention to driving, then they shouldn't be trusted with a driver's license.
          rubley00
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Val
          Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. You're basically saying no one should have a driver's license because no one can be trusted. There is a reason TV's in the dash are illegal, and this is no different. It serves no purpose related to driving. You're probably one of the fools who think they can "multitask". You can't. That's a term that ONLY applies to computers, not humans.
          Val
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Val
          radio and cigarette lighters also don't serve any purpose related to driving. Or cup holders. Is that succinct enough for you?
          Val
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Val
          No dumbass, i am not saying no one can be trusted. But a lot of people can't be. So yeah, a lot of people shouldn't have drivers license. Plenty of people drive without looking at their smartphone, without drinking coffee, without eating. But some do. Those that do, make a conscious choice. They are probably aware they shouldn't be doing it. But when they make a mistake, they should suffer the consequences. Like losing a driver's license, or going to jail for life if causing death. Just like drunk drivers. Drinking is illegal, and people still do it. They suffer the consequences.
          Val
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Val
          You can't.
          rubley00
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Val
          Wow, that's a lot of rambling with absolutely no point. Your assertion was that people who can't pay attention shouldn't get a license. How do we prevent that BEFORE people die?
          jbm0866
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Val
          I totally agree, but it todays world having a license to drive has very little to do with making sure a person can safely and competently operate a 3000-5000lb machine with others on the road. It's all about revenue for states and keeping track of citizens.. I see people on the streets every single day who I'm quite sure have little or no idea where the four corners of their car are in relation to the drivers seat...much less know approximately how much distance it would take their car to come to a complete stop. Some people drive just because they think they have to because everyone else does...those people should hang up the keys and take public trans.
      MPLS612
      • 10 Months Ago
      This is an app that can be downloaded to your phone and connected through Blutooth. It does not display the content from Facebook on the screen while driving. It reads the content to you. This is no different than using your hands-free phone. Do I think that this is needed, no. But do I think this is blown out of proportion, yes. Many cars have this capability, not just Mazda.
        macutty
        • 10 Months Ago
        @MPLS612
        this is version 1.0. Its how they get the concept introduced and people comfortable with it. Next it will be just single lines of text, but in a heads up display. Then only small thumbnails images, then.......you get the picture. You can be online or on the road. Not both. Pick one.
          fred schumacher
          • 10 Months Ago
          @macutty
          macutty is correct. This is a foot in the door to more driver distraction. We're really not good at multitasking. The brain has only so much bandwidth, which is why when I'm in heavy traffic or road conditions are slippery, I don't want the radio on and I don't listen to anybody in the car talking.
          Val
          • 10 Months Ago
          @macutty
          You also can't enter anything into facebook. It just reads your updates, if you configure it to. The functions that are NOT blocked on your nav sstem are turn-by-turn navigation, and image directions. Those functions are not any different from the ones offered by mazda's facebook updates reading system. So where is the difference? Or does your satnav completely shut off hile driving, so that you are not distracted?
          rubley00
          • 10 Months Ago
          @macutty
          "But playing devils advocate, how is having a system read you these updates any different than turn by turn navigation or looking at your navigation screen while driving?" Many functions are blocked on Nav systems when in motion. In my car, I can't enter addresses while driving, that requires too much interaction.
          rubley00
          • 10 Months Ago
          @macutty
          The difference being that you can argue that Nav helps make people drive better. They know where the exits are, and don't have to swerve across the road at the last minute. You can't make any argument at all for being updated on the newest garbage posted on twitter.
        MotionDesigner
        • 10 Months Ago
        @MPLS612
        Using navigation or hands-free phone is mostly done out of necessity. Like my father, although I hate it I know he's always talking on the speakerphone about work-related issues while he drives. He does it because he needs to, not because he wants to. It's an evil necessity. But tell me what is necessary at all about checking your facebook updates while driving? That is more of a "want" than a "need". And I know through observation that facebook users REALLY like to use their facebook whenever and wherever they can. I don't care how anyone tries to spin this or defend it by comparing it with so and so... Facebook + Driver + Vehicle = a bad idea, period.
        Greg
        • 10 Months Ago
        @MPLS612
        "This is no different than using your hands-free phone" I have no problem banning those, too, because research shows they are just as dangerous, regardless of hands-free or not. Some people try to say it's necessary. I reject that claim. If your business is so important that you can't wait, then you should either have a driver or you should telecommute.
    • Load More Comments