March 21, 2024 at 1:26 pm

European Auto Makers May Be Trading Touch Screens For Buttons And Knobs To Save Drivers From More Accidents

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

Cars have become like everything else in this tech-driven world of ours. We want the latest technology and we want it right up front where we can see it.

In Europe, though, studies are showing that we were safer drivers when all we had in front of us were buttons and knobs, not screens.

The European New Car Assessment Program is telling automakers that as of January 2026, they’ll have to make some big changes in order to receive a full five-star safety rating.

Source: Shutterstock

They say that complex center control touchscreens have become distracting for drivers, keeping their gazes away from the road for too long.

“The overuse of touchscreens is an industry-wide problem, with almost every vehicle-maker moving key controls onto central touchscreens, obliging drivers to take their eyes off the road and raising the risk of distraction crashes.”

If automakers want those five-star safety ratings, their designs are going to have to include physical buttons or dials for indicators, hazard warning lights, wipers, SOS calls, and the horn.

This doesn’t bode well for some luxury brands, like Mercedes and Tesla, who have gone big and also abolished physical controls entirely.

The NCAP can’t control designers, of course, but consumers do consider safety ratings when making their decisions.

Some carmakes, like Porsche, have already begun reintroducing buttons and dials, so the writing may be on the wall.

Source: Shutterstock

“Car controls need to be intuitive for all drivers so they can concentrate on the road ahead rather than the screen to the side. Euro NCAP has been transformative in crash protection and saved countless lives, so it is reassuring that it is addressing how design may lead to driver distraction.”

Time will tell whether or not these changes will hop the pond.

I know we all want to be safe while driving, so maybe taking the touchscreens out of our cars would be the best course of action.

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