Staying Safe and Staying Connected – A Mutually Exclusive Conundrum?
Supporting the connected lifestyle through better automotive HMI/Integration
Why is it that we are so quick to point out how dangerous it is to be texting/emailing/checking Facebook while driving, but then do it anyway?
Our society has developed an overwhelming need to be connected. Constant checking of email is driven by the increasing demands of work, and the lines between our professional and personal lives are becoming increasingly blurred. As more things compete for our attention, we need to feel that attention is being paid to us as well. And, we constantly check for that validation. Email, texts, tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn. "Who has responded to me?” equates to “who thinks I’m important enough to be noticed?” And we worry that our friends will think we are ignoring them if we fail to respond in a timely manner. And this constant communication doesn’t take a break simply because we get in a car.
Figures from the NHTSA and the US Department of Transportation tell us that:
- At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving--a number that has held steady since 2010.
- Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind.
- Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times.
- A quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive. 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving
Whether drivers are ignorant of the dangers, somehow believe that statistics don’t apply to them, or are simply so concerned with staying connected that they are willing to take the risk, the fact is that many drivers are putting themselves, and the others who share the road with them, at risk.
Trying to curtail the behavior hasn’t really worked. The statistics given above are in spite of the fact that 41 states ban texting and driving, and 12 states ban the use of handheld cell phones while driving. Some car manufacturers, concerned with liability and wanting to promote safety, lock out some or all input to their IVI system when the vehicle is in motion. But these solutions frustrate drivers and passengers alike, and they simply start using other devices that don’t restrict them. Most drivers utilize the phone directly instead of the built in IVI system in their car, which means they have more time distracted with finding the phone, keeping it from sliding across the seats, digging it out from where it fell to the floorboards, etc.
How can we enable some connectivity in the least distracting manner? Tizen gives us, as an international community, an opportunity to lead safety in car entertainment and information. It’s going to require examining what’s been tried before as well as being creative and rolling up our sleeves to figure out new ways of doing things. Some phones now have a “driving mode” where texts and emails can be read out loud and replies can be sent using speech to text and voice command and control. These are good technologies, but we need to do more. Touch screens don’t provide eyes-off feedback on what keys are being pressed. Phones stuck in pockets must be fished out before being used.
Over the next few weeks we will discuss ways we can enable safer connected experiences by building some of these capabilities into IVI systems in our cars. I will also present new upcoming capabilities to further enhance our connected driving experience. I’m looking forward to your input here and hopefully at upcoming Tizen association events.
See you on the road...
Tizen IVI Product Marketing