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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
Attorney • (877) 377-7848

Seize the Dash, Risk the Crash

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The Detroit Auto Show has rolled into town and although it is not currently opened to the public, media coverage is aplenty, especially among main players in the world of smartphone connectivity and infotainment, such as Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto.

General Motors will be introducing its 2016 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid that will include support for CarPlay and MirrorLink, while Hyundai will feature its Display Audio, a high resolution seven-inch color touch-screen display that has been optimized specifically for enhanced smartphone integrations. Hyundai says it will offer more technology than ever as it aims to provide what car buyers want. Almost every auto manufacturer will follow suit with the latest technologies.

With these systems, getting connected is easy; simply plug your phone into a cable and the phone screen is projected onto the dashboard display. Drivers can make phone calls, listen to music, send text messages, get directions, and more. I must admit I was intrigued. I mean I am not only an excellent driver, but have perfected multi-tasking. But, the more I read, the alarm went off. What about the rest of you? What about teen drivers who are addicted to texting, emails, Facebook, and Twitter? Although users would be able to control the system with their voices, hands-free devices are not a solution to keeping our roadways safe. What about cognitive distractions (when the mind is preoccupied with something else), which can lead to a type of tunnel vision or inattention blindness where motorists don’t see potential hazards right in front of them?

Texting, talking, and tweeting behind the wheel are real threats, hands-free or not. Study after study has shown the risks, so why do these companies develop and market gadgets that continue to cause distractions? They contend that they are giving consumers what they want, but I don’t know any consumer who doesn’t think heaven can wait. The problem is not just technology and corporate profits; it is consumers, too. The average American can’t stop themselves from texting, tweeting, calling, looking, listening, tapping, pushing, scanning, and scrolling. The more tools at a driver’s fingertips, the more dangerous our roadways become. Still not convinced? Watch this eight minute video with Dom Esposito trying out a Hyundai Sonata with both Google’s Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay at the LA Auto Show. Specifically, watch for the pop-up notification when a new message comes in.

Now, what do you think about Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto? Place your comment here, but before you do, consider this – what do you value most – your social connections or your life?

Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.