The Canadian government is so worried about drivers being distracted by vehicle information systems that it is preparing to regulate the devices, perhaps even forcing automakers to ensure they won’t operate when cars are in gear.

Peter Burns, chief of ergonomics in Transport Canada’s road safety and motor vehicle regulation directorate, added that such devices “are currently pretty much only available on high-end models, but it’s not going to be too long before they are available in all vehicles. The functionality is just going to be limitless for what these systems will be able to do. So there is a huge potential for distraction.”

Many of the devices link up with cellphones.

The paper refers to research that found it took just four seconds to operate a car’s windshield wipers, but 20 to 30 seconds to dial a cellphone, while three of four navigation systems controlled by hand took one minute to operate, and 75 per cent of the driver’s time during that minute was spent looking away from the road.
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