Driving assistance systems – a boom for bad habits? image

Texting, video chat, Facebook messaging, tweeting has all become part of everyday social culture – an unfortunately all of these can become dangerous when engaged while driving.

Numerous studies have pointed out that distracted driving – in the US for example – makes up for 16 percent of vehicle accidents, compared to just three percent when speeding is involved. Meanwhile, numerous authors point out the tally of tickets for breaching the texting-while-driving law is below 10 percent of the total tickets issued for speeding. We have been taught relentlessly that speeding is anti-social behavior while all the aforementioned tasks now form the core of our social behavior. AT&T research points out that around two-thirds of its smartphone users ext while driving, four in ten use social media, three out of ten surf the net and 10 percent even record videos. Car aficionados have always made a point that for example, low speed limits will enable boredom – the kind that could encourage smartphone use in today’s highly paced world.

And systems such as a lane keeping assistant – which signals when you’re leaving your own lane inadvertently – could, instead of lifting safety, actually does the opposite. That’s because today’s driving assistance systems deliver more time for drivers to do other tasks besides actually driving. Autonomous cars will appear most likely during the upcoming decade and until then we’ll be mesmerized by semi-autonomous cars, which help people prepare for the switch. But they could also encourage more dangerous driving behavior as they will take away some driving tasks but may still require full attention in the blink of an eye.