*UPDATE: On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation released voluntary anti-distraction guidelines for carmakers. These call for disabling all electronic devices that access the Web and social media or send text messages—any in-car technology that causes drivers to take their hands off the wheel or eyes off the road for more than two seconds. That means no texting, tweeting, dialing or browsing unless the car is stopped and placed in Park.
The NTSB has called for a total ban on such devices, and other advocacy groups had skeptical comments, but this is a step forward, we think. Press release here.
Popular Mechanics did a recent piece on the “10 Most Useless Car Technologies.” I agree with most but not all of their choices, and they were being kind, given the proliferation of infotainment junk in cars. Give us some comment on a) what you think they omitted, and b) what they got wrong. I’ll add mine as we go.
Paddle shifters for automatic transmissions. PM says they often don’t work well. I say, fix ’em and keep ’em. Automatics are good today, but we need the override.
Interlocked seatbelts and starter. Not on cars anymore.
Automatic moisture-sensing wipers. Right, they often don’t work correctly.
Automatic steering headlights. No comment, never drove with them.
Map lights. Wrong: Still useful.
Motorized rear-view mirror. Right: Use your hands.
Motorized seatbelts. Not in cars anymore.
Proximity warning systems. Yes, confusing and distracting. Lane departure warning signals could be good.
Electronic parking brake. Haven’t used.
capacitive touch controls. All touchscreens distract.
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