A report into in-car technology highlights growing concerns about the dangers of driver distraction, but also reveals a responsible attitude from a majority of drivers towards using new technology in a safe manner.
The RAC Foundation report, based on a public attitude survey by Ipsos MORI, reveals that 69% of more than 2,000 respondents agreed that technologies which connect the driver to the outside world could distract them from driving safely.
The report examines how drivers are increasingly connected, both through in-built vehicle technology and portable devices they bring into the vehicle, which increases the risk of driver distraction.
Despite these concerns, respondents are keen to adapt to the technology in order to stay safe behind the wheel.
Three-fifths (60%) of drivers polled said they would be happy to use a safe mode when driving to prevent or reduce distraction by mobile phones and other devices. A number of apps, including ‘Drive safely keep focused’ and ‘ICED by Speed’, have been developed for this purpose.
The survey also highlights an appetite for driver and vehicle connectivity as prospective buyers look for these new technologies when purchasing a new car.
85% said that live information about the condition of the car was an important factor. 81% looked for live traffic/congestion alerts, 79% wanted their new car to be fitted with a sat nav, and 71% wanted speed camera warnings.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “This survey tells us the majority of motorists would back a ‘car safe’ mode to prevent mobiles interfering with a driver’s concentration.
“Reassuringly, the vast majority of people said they wanted to use technology to check the state of their vehicle and make their journeys easier, not to read Facebook messages, send texts or email the boss.
“There was a time when transport connectivity referred solely to how easy it was to get from A to B: how well are places ‘connected’? But with the telecoms revolution there is increasing debate around connected cars and drivers. Technology brings us huge benefits. We just need to make sure it does so safely.”