Driving & Technology

Technology On The Move

In-car technology goes on from strength to strength in its ingenuity, providing evermore gadgets and innovations to enhance the driving experience, and increase perceived safety and information levels.

Touchscreens and visual readouts are all very well, but where, in the complexities of the car and driver, does the mobile, or more likely, smart phone fit in?

The rise in smart phone take up has been phenomenal, with a touchscreen technology that has only been available since 2007, and since then, three quarters of the adult population now own and use one.

The smart phone has become, for many, an indispensable part of everyday life. One third of the adult population has admitted to checking their phones in the middle of the night, one in ten reaching for the smart phone as soon as they wake up, and a third getting hold of it within five minutes of waking up.

A proportion of users admit to unstoppable overuse, with instant messaging and social media being the main reason, and using it whilst eating, sitting with family or friends, or even whilst watching television.

It would seem that one of the only activities where smart phone use has to stop is when driving our hi-tech cars. The distraction that they can cause is a distraction beyond acceptance, as several recent high profile tragic accidents have proved.

The use of them for hands-free conversations has not been outlawed (yet), but the slap on the wrist punishment for using a hand held whilst driving in the UK, has been turned into a proper and serious deterrent.

The standard penalty for using a hand held device is a fine of £100, and three penalty points on the licence, and the proposals put forward are to double them.

Although difficult to police, the deterrent is as much to change the attitude into one that recognises that the potential dangers involved, carry almost the stigma and gravitas as drinking and driving….. if you have been accused of either offence or any other driving offence for that matter, ask Patterson Law (The leading UK motoring solicitors) a free, no obligation question and find out where you stand defending your licence.

The penalty for using a hand held would be a fine of £200 and six penalty points, which mean that two strikes within the three year life of the penalty points would give twelve points, which unless legal representation in court prevent it, disqualification for six months.

Among the generation of those who struggle to function without using a smart phone, 18 to 24 year olds, is the greater number of those that have passed the driving test within the last two years, and to whom just one strike would mean disqualification, and to have to pass their tests again.

For all the technology around us, that which is trialing driverless cars is the most promising look at technology on the move.