Onboard Technologies: Friend or Foe?

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All the onboard systems in cars can present just as many sources of distraction. Photo Shutterstock

The proliferation of technology in vehicles could jeopardise the safety of motorists, according to a statement published by the International Drivers Association at the beginning of February.

Entertainment systems and driver assistance systems (ADAS) are the source of much concern, and have been for a long time. In 2015, the University of Utah carried out a study which, at the time, pointed out that driver assistance systems were a source of distraction for motorists.

Today’s vehicle technologies are much more advanced, making them even more entertaining than they were in 2015, as Julianna Marshall from theInternational Drivers Association explained: “The potential for distraction has probably also increased, with maps, music and messages distracting drivers from the road. “

What’s more, according to another study published in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ADAS systems can increase driver stress levels. In particular, in heavy traffic situations, the number of collision alerts can be higher, contributing to increased stress levels.

Secondly, according to the research, stress at the wheel can cause drivers to become more aggressive, sometimes leading them to make riskier manoeuvres and lose their temper more easily with other drivers. In fact, according to some sources, 56% of fatal accidents at the wheel are caused by aggressive driving. So, as we can see, the stress caused by ADAS systems could lead to dangerous situations.

In fact, as explained in an article published on roadandtrack.com, Vinfast vehicles were fitted with an over-sensitive ADAS system that sent the driver an aberrant number of audible alerts (as shown in this video posted on Donut Media’s YouTube page).

Fortunately, the software on Vinfast vehicles has now been revised and corrected, and works much better. But in their early days, it would have been difficult to make their ADAS systems even more entertaining.

Finally, the International Drivers Association reminds us that everyone needs to do their bit to limit the impact of distracted driving. On the one hand, manufacturers must further limit the distractions emitted by vehicles while driving. On the other hand, motorists need to configure the technologies in their vehicles to reduce the impact they have on their concentration.


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