Phones not only source of distraction leading to Palm Beach car accidents

When it comes to distractions behind the wheel, your cell phone certainly has competition. Any number of driver distractions can lead to a serious or fatal car accident in West Palm Beach or elsewhere in South Florida.

Cars are mirroring the ever-increasing technology available in phones, with dashboard navigation systems, hundreds of satellite radio systems, DVD players in the head rests and touch-screen navigation controls.

The USA Today reports there are a few alliances in the auto industry, but no universal agreement when it comes to reducing the risks of distractions caused by in-car technology. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is slated to introduce the first phase of guidelines later this year.

Members of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which includes most major car builders except Honda, have developed their own procedures to reduce in-car distractions caused by information and communication systems. Meanwhile, the Association of International Automobile Manufactures says its members make their own decisions when it comes to the risks associated with in-car distractions.

Consumer Reports found the new touch-screen computers becoming standard in many Ford models — which control radio, temperature and navigation — was “overly complicated and distracting.” Such much so that it dropped its recommendation of models with the system.

And last year the federal government chastised General Motors’ OnStar system for allowing drivers to verbally update their Facebook or Twitter status.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has conducted research that showed talking to passengers was the leading cause of distraction in 7,000 crashes it studied last year. But that involves only “cognitive” distraction. Texting or interacting with dashboard controls involves all three forms of distraction, “cognitive, visual and manual,” and has therefore been deemed most dangerous.