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Heads up display may not curb distracted driving

Indeed, it is not time for the holiday season, but you can bet that automakers are hard at work on their plans to bring 2015 models into your living rooms with commercials about end-of-year sales. Aside from new body styles and performance upgrades, the newest technological features create a new buzz of interest.

One of these features is a dashboard based glass display that projects information so that a driver sees the display right in front of them.  Essentially, the images would be in the driver’s line of sight so that he or she does not have to take his or her eyes off the road to look down at a traditional display. What is being described as a “heads up display” or HUD is being made available on luxury vehicles including the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes Benz E-Class.

To some techies, the HUD could be something that replaces the traditional dashboard altogether. But to some safety advocates, it may not be so significant. A 2013 study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that mental distractions may overload a person’s capacity to process information and react to hazards. Basically, the number of displays and notices that can take the driver’s attention may prevent him or her from recognizing safety issues; such as stopped traffic or someone (or something) darting into the road.

We believe that this debate will continue regardless of what evidence comes out afterwards. Nevertheless, drivers must still use reasonable care when behind the wheel, regardless of the fancy displays that can be incorporated into a car.

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