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New Car Dashboards Feature Fewer Distractions

In this day and age, it seems like everyone is obsessed with getting the most bang for their buck, and nowhere is this more true than the technological industry. With the rapidity of technological change, there is always something newer and sleeker offering more features for less money. But is more always better? The auto engineers at Honda certainly don’t think so, and they aren’t the only ones.

It wasn’t too long ago that state of the art technology was limited to luxury carmakers like Lincoln, Cadillac, BMW, and Mercedes. However, in the last decade virtually all car companies have enhanced their technological packages, offering auxiliary cords for Mp3 players, connectivity for phones, and bringing various other gadgets to their customers. It’s no coincidence that as the amount of technology inside our vehicles increases, so too does the annual number of distracted driving accidents. In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in car accidents involving a distracted driver, and an additional 387,000 drivers and passengers were seriously injured. With these crashes accounting for 10% of all auto injuries in the United States, it is safe to say that roadway distraction is quickly becoming an epidemic, and the designers of the new Acura MDX are looking to remedy it. (The New York Times)

At first glance, Honda’s new Acura MDX luxury sport utility vehicle meets the status quo, with more space, more fuel economy, more apps, and more connectivity. But in one key aspect, the auto manufacturer’s new model is pushing for less: buttons. “We understand the stakes,” said one official in regards to the more than 30 buttons eliminated from the vehicles dashboard. “We can’t stop what consumers want in their cars, so we have to make the technology less risky to use.” Other automotive manufacturers have also begun to adopt safer, less distracting technology designs. The Ford Motor Company for example, has made leaps and bounds in their effort to revise their popular Sync system, and many other companies have started making onboard computers unavailable while the vehicle is in drive. (Distraction.gov)

All of these steps move our auto industry in the right direction, but in order to truly begin to see a decrease in the level of distraction related accident, drivers have to do their part as well. Texting, applying makeup, or even eating and drinking can be enough to divert a driver’s attention away from the road, and at high speeds taking even a few seconds to look at your cell phone could mean driving hundred of feet completely blind. Our lawyers would like to remind you that accidents do happen, and the best way to avoid them is to practice defensive driving and be aware of everything around you. From all of us here at Levin & Perconti, have a great weekend, and drive safely.