Parents often wish they could be in two places at once. A feature from Toyota now gives them the next best thing: The ability to yell at their children from a distance.
The feature, known as Easy Speak, was introduced in the 2014 Highlander and can now be had in Toyota's Sienna minivan. It allows drivers to use a microphone to communicate with passengers via the car's speakers, all while keeping their eyes on the road. This can come in handy when your brood starts their territorial shoving matches. There's also an optional two way conversation mirror, which allows parents to keep check in on the action without having to turn their head around.
These are welcome features. A three-week study from the Monash University Accident Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia showed that children – not telephones – are more likely to distract people while driving. Parents were distracted on 90 of 92 trips studied by the researchers, racking up an average of three minutes of distracted driving per 16 minute trip. Cell phones only made up one percent of that distracted drive time.