It’s already becoming commonplace to connect your smartphone with your car. Now Apple has made it one step easier with the introduction of CarPlay, an in-car system that enables drivers to access their iPhone through the dashboard. School of Public Policy Assistant Professor Robert Rosenberger has previously written two articles about driving with dashboard phones and hands-free texting technology.
The problem with CarPlay, in my view, is that it facilitates behaviors that we know to be distracting to drivers, such as calling and texting. Even though CarPlay allows hands-free calling and texting (and other app use, like Facebook or email), a decade of research has shown that hands-free devices are not automatically safer on the road. The empirical research shows that “connectivity features” like hands-free calling, despite enabling a driver to keep hands on the wheel and continue looking forward, can dangerously take the driver’s mind off the task of driving.
CarPlay defenders will point out that dashboard infotainment systems already tout some of these features. But that is already a problem. And by further integrating an iPhone’s functionality and familiar interface schemes into the vehicle, CarPlay will make it seem that much more natural and normal to engage in dangerous distractions while behind the wheel.
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