'In-car technology should be simplified'
USING in-car technology such as touch- screens, integrated phones and sat navs can be distracting if used on the move, an investigation by Which? has found.
Which? tested the systems of eight of the UK's best-selling car-makers and found many features difficult to use while driving.
An in-car technology charter, with a 10-point checklist, has been created to make in-car technology systems less distracting.
Which? will be discussing the charter with the government, road safety bodies and car makers in the coming months.
Which? car editor, Richard Headland, said: "We found that the sheer number of ways to carry out simple tasks in the cars was baffling, and crying out to be simplified.
"We know people want systems in their car that integrate audio, phone, sat nav and other functions, but it's time for the Government to step in and provide some strong guidance to focus car makers on creating less distracting systems."
The charter states:
1: Drivers shouldn't need to look away from the road for more than two seconds at a time to operate a single device
2: The fewest possible inputs should be needed to operate devices. Developing better voice-recognition systems is desirable
3: Key functions that you need to access every day need dedicated buttons (radio/CD/air circulation and heating controls), rather than being buried in on-screen menu systems
4: Steering wheel controls should be placed in convenient locations on the front of wheel
5: Entering sat nav destinations should be disabled when moving
6: Centre console displays should be placed high up, so the driver doesn't have to glance down at them. Smaller second screens in the instrument cluster (or a head-up display) are useful for showing key journey information and "next turn" navigation prompts.
7: Pairing a mobile phone to the car via Bluetooth should only be permitted while stationary
8: Drivers shouldn't be able to initiate phone calls while driving, other than via voice con- trol. Accepting a call should also be simple.
9: While on the move, the car should "read out" text messages, not display on a screen
10: Internet, social media, TV/DVD functions should only be accessible when stationary