Distracted Drivers are Driving Automakers to Focus Their Attention

DWI - Driving While Intexticated is a trend that’s to blame for an ever-growing amount of vehicle accidents across the US, especially for teens and young adults. In fact, more than 13 percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 that were involved in accidents said they were texting or talking on their cell phones at the time of the crash (http://www.textinganddrivingsafety.com). In an effort to combat the latest negative trends, car makers are researching and testing all-new hands-free technologies to keep drivers’ attention where it needs to be - on the road.

According to IHS Automotive, the percentage of new cars (globally) that will be equipped with touch-screen monitors is predicted to rise to 47.1 percent by 2020, compared to just 16.2 percent in 2014. Car companies’ engineers and design teams are not just looking to offer more technology conveniences while driving, but also training vehicles to limit distractions when road conditions become most attention heavy. This is the idea behind workload management - learning when drivers’ workloads are overly demanding .

Here are just a few things being tested:

  • Measuring drivers’ heart rate and respiration using sensors on steering wheels and seatbelts

  • Monitoring vehicle-equipped inputs that assess drivers’ activity

  • Implementing systems that look at road, traffic, weather, and time-of-day data to determine when driving conditions are most attention-demanding

These workload management systems are likely to engage automatically during periods of high driver workload to help better manage distractions that could result in accidents. Numerous factors are being reviewed to accurately determine the features and capabilities of these systems, warranting continuous vehicle testing and research of vehicles. It is expected that this type of technology will not reach production for at least two or three years down the road.

While you wait for these new driving technologies to hit the market, check out the latest in hands-free communication and convenience systems in the 2015 Jeep® Grand Cherokee and 2015 RAM 1500. Visit Motor Inn of Knoxville to see our wide inventory of all-new cars, SUVs, and trucks, and you just might find the vehicle of your dreams!

(source: March 2015, Car and Driver)

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