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Could Car Connectivity Technology Pose A Threat?

Several reports show that the connected car technology, which is being tested and developed in order to make roads safer, may also pose a serious distraction risk to drivers.

According to the reports, the Governors Highway Safety Association has indicated that the number of fatalities among young teen drivers has risen about 19% in the first half of 2012. According to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, distracted driving has turned into an epidemic among all drivers in the country. Distracted driving can be linked to 16% of all traffic accidents that lead to fatalities.

Now, auto technology developers are working to add more electronics to vehicles, which could, according to critics, increase the risk of accidents related to distractions.

According to some, federal regulators are working closely with automakers to develop the technology that would allow for drivers to be warned of potential risks and hazards on the road ahead.

Developers say that the connected car technology can make risks associated with accidents less likely since drivers will be aware of potential risks beforehand, increasing their reaction time. The technology would be possible with the use of Wi-Fi. This may be what drivers want: more connectivity. But is this technology what will make driving safer?

General Motors has announced recently that it will be adding 4G broadband capabilities to most of its vehicles. With the auto connectivity technology, motorists will be capable to tap into a Wi-Fi hotspot that will be present onboard of vehicles, which could provide Internet capabilities to computers, iPads and smartphones.

The vehicle will act as a mobile device as well, being capable of enabling embedded vehicle capabilities to drivers, which will make it possible for drivers to stream movies and music. Other services will also be made available with this Wi-Fi capability, such as updating the vehicle’s software in case the car’s engine is not running up to par.

Connected car technology has been said to improve the overall ride quality and make the vehicle safe while also enabling drivers to beware of potential risks. What the technology advocates do not mention, critics say, is that the abundant presence of potentially distractive features could increase the risk of accidents precisely because drivers are too busy using the technologies and keeping their attention away from the road ahead.

Audi has also started working on using broadband technology on its newer vehicles and Chrysler is soon to follow into GM and Audi’s footsteps.

While some are still concerned about the risks associated with the use of Wi-Fi in autos, safety advocates also urge consumers to learn more about how car-to-car communication technology can improve the lives of many by providing drivers with more information on potential hazards.

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About the Author
The Vachon Law Firm is based in Southern California and focuses exclusively on consumer protection litigation.