Is “Heads-Up” Technology Safe?

It seems like vehicle technology offers something new every day. Just because something is new, however, doesn’t mean it’s safe.

For the past several years, auto manufacturers have experimented with technology that seeks to reduce driver distraction by preventing motorists from accessing in-car tech while the vehicle is in motion. This can be seen in certain vehicle models that disable GPS navigation controls unless the vehicle is in the park.

Now, an increasing number of car manufacturers have abandoned disabling technology in favor of digital dashboard displays.

Safety Concerns about Heads-Up Vehicle Technology

Recently, automakers have turned to “heads-up” technology that displays data on motorists’ windshields. Select models of BMW, Volvo, and Hyundai vehicles now display full-color animation and information on drivers’ windshields. Jaguar Land Rover has even advertised a “360 Virtual Urban Windscreen” that points out pedestrians, suggests points of interest, and projects the image of a “ghost car” to lead drivers to unfamiliar destinations.

Once limited to the cockpits of elite fighter pilots, this new technology claims to keep drivers focused on the road by keeping their heads facing straight ahead.

Safety advocates disagree. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), research shows that humans are incapable of multitasking – even going so far as to call multitasking a “lie.” When the brain is confronted with two or more cognitive tasks, it switches back and forth between them rather than process them simultaneously.

Furthermore, NASA research discovered that even fighter pilots aren’t immune to these distractions. A 2004 study showed that heads-up displays resulted in “attention capture” that diverted pilots’ attention away from flying.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced in 2014 that it will begin studying heads-up displays. In the meantime, safety experts have their doubts. Paul Atchley, a professor of cognitive psychology who has researched the human attention span in three-dimensional spaces for the military, claims that heads-up tech offers no benefit. “You get the illusion of paying attention to the road without the benefit of seeing what’s important.”

Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers

The motor vehicle accident lawyers at Anesi, Ozmon, Rodin, Novak & Kohen, Ltd. pursue justice on behalf of people and families who have been injured through the negligent conduct of others. Our lawyers fight hard on behalf of injury victims and their families. Call today at (312) 779-6610 to speak to an Anesi Ozmon attorney about your case.

This website has been prepared by Anesi, Ozmon, Rodin, Novak & Kohen, Ltd. for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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