Audio + Visual Tech

Hi-Tech Or High Distraction? The Lost Art Of Driving

Photo# 617 - Heavy TrafficAs if today’s drivers don’t have enough distractions outside the car, technology continues to evolve, more driving-related apps are available, and in-vehicle computer systems continue to become more sophisticated. This raises the question: Is the technology in cars causing more distractions than benefits for today’s driver?

Distracted Driving Comes In Many Forms

Surprisingly, distracted driving doesn’t only come from talking on the phone and texting while driving. By doing some research, on sites such as, you will discover that eating and drinking (non-alcoholic beverages) while driving are also two of the biggest distractions, often causing accidents for commuters traveling to and from their jobs. Applying makeup while driving is also a distraction, as well as changing CDs or radio stations and just about anything else that takes a driver’s attention away from the road.

Technology As A Distraction

In addition to the continual evolution of dashboard technology, which now includes high-tech computer systems and GPS screens that come standard in newer vehicles, there are also many driving apps that bring your attention inside the car and away from your outside surroundings. These apps include alcohol apps such as DrinkTracker, which is meant to help you determine if you should drive your vehicle home or call a cab based on the amount of alcohol you have consumed.

GPS Navigation ScreenThis app also comes with a GPS feature that helps you find directions to the next watering hole, or home, whichever is next on your list. This feature could certainly become a safety issue, especially if you are using the app while driving and consuming alcohol!

The Question Of Google Glass

Still not yet widely available, Google Glass is a glasses-type apparatus that you wear on your face like eyeglasses. But, unlike eyeglasses, this high-tech gadget connects you to the Internet, allowing you to read email, search for directions and even engage in video chat without using your cell phone or built-in vehicle navigation system. A computer and thumbnail display screen above your right eye allows the wearer to do all kinds of things we now use our computers and cell phones to do.

As this type of technology becomes mainstream, the question is already arising about laws regarding distracted driving and how Google Glass falls into the mix. Some people argue that using Google Glass for directions while driving will make drivers less distracted because they no longer have to look down at a phone or their car’s computer screen.

However, the opposing argument is concerned with the distractions of looking at a screen and/or being able to read emails and video chat while driving. How do we regulate that? How would drivers be liable if they were involved in an accident while wearing Google Glass? The outcome remains to be seen since this type of technology is so new.

Ultimately, the safety of drivers and anyone else on the road, including pedestrians and cyclists, should be the first and foremost concern. If technology that was meant to be helpful becomes distracting and the cause of more accidents, then that technology is probably not meant for using behind the wheel.

A lover of technology but never while driving, Nadine Swayne presents this view on bad vehicle habits. If you’re trying to turn over a new leaf for the New Year, visit sites such as, for insight on the causes, effects and solutions of distracted driving.

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