High-Tech Tools in Cars are Distracting for Drivers

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A distracted driver.

We all know the dangers of trying to use cellphones or any hand-held electronic devices while driving. With these concerns in mind, automakers have started offering voice-activated systems in cars that let drivers dictate emails and text messages.

Still, questions remain about whether these latest tricked-out cars are really any safer. Research shows that even though these systems allow drivers to keep their hands on the wheel, the tasks they allow us to perform while driving can be mentally distracting.

As Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains explains: “Even when we have a technology that allows us to speak texts, even that is very distracting in a way that I don’t think that we’re so conscious of because we assume that if our eyes are focused out on the road that the fact that we’re composing something in our mind doesn’t impose on our attentiveness, when it fact it does.”

Distracted driving and our ongoing love of multitasking is an issue that Kara Miller, host of WGBH's Innovation Hub, has been exploring. She discusses the latest cutting edge technology showing up in cars and considers the implications for everyone’s safety.