Fleet News

Code highlights 'dangers' of navigation systems

FLEET managers should adopt improved driver education to warn of the dangers of using in-car navigation systems, according to the revised Highway Code. With more than one million vehicles now on the road using some form of navigation system, the new Code has highlighted the potential danger of driver distraction from the systems and other forms of new technology.

But Trafficmaster, a leading supplier of congestion warning equipment, says the audible signals from systems pose no more danger than listening to a radio. It says it is only when drivers start reading maps on screens and programming destinations while on the move a distraction could be caused.

Vauxhall was forced to defend its decision to position its Carin navigation system at the foot of the centre console, out of the driver's line of vision in the Omega. Drivers complained they couldn't consult the screen when driving, but Vauxhall said the whole point of its position was to force drivers not to take their eyes off the road and to only react to the audible signals while driving, rather than glancing at a screen.

RAC campaigns manager Edmund King has stated that the Government needs to be far clearer on what it defines as a distraction, and has asked if drivers should also stop looking at rev counters and speedometers for fear of diverting a driver's attention.

The new Code states: 'There is a danger of driver distraction being caused by in-vehicle systems such as route guidance and navigation systems, congestion warning systems, PCs, and multi-media. 'Do not operate, adjust or view any such system if it will distract your attention while you are driving; you must exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times. If necessary find a safe place to stop first.'

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