Apple’s CarPlay draws safety criticism


“We’re very, very concerned about it,” said David Teater, senior director at the nonprofit National Safety Council. “The auto industry and the consumer electronics industry are really in an arms race to see how we can enable drivers to do stuff other than driving.”

This is the flip side of putting more and more technology within arm’s reach of the driver. I know I’m an outlier on this but, as a motorcyclist, these kinds of technologies scare the crap out of us.

  • Terry

    There’s bound to be criticism until this technology permeates the marketplace and provides enough statistical data to judge.

    In other words- forever

    • JohnDoey

      There is already enough statistical data to judge. Getting data takes no time at all these days. Accidents due to distracted driving are up over 100% year after year.

      After 30 years of car phones, we had to make it illegal to use your phone in a car.

  • Odi Kosmatos

    “The auto industry and the consumer electronics industry are really in an arms race to see how we can enable drivers to do stuff other than driving.”

    If you think about Google’s and Audi’s self-driving cars, then you could re-interpret the above quote in a much more positive way.

    • Agreed but these in-car systems are WAY ahead of any self-driving car implementation.

    • JohnDoey

      There is no such thing as a “self-driving car.” What you are talking about is merely assisted driving. Even in the Google cars, the human driver is 100% responsible for the vehicle and has to be ready to take over at a moment’s notice when the assisted driving runs into a condition that it can’t handle, of which there are thousands. It’s only one notch above cruise control, which lets you rest your feet on a highway drive. The assisted driving lets you rest your hands on a highway drive. That is all. We are decades away from anything else.

      • James Hughes

        I think Odi is speaking about the future potential of today’s assisted driving vehicles.

  • Anon Techie

    CarPlay is a zillion times better than “unlock phone with password, select music app, play song, reply to SMS, close app, go to folder with Navigation apps, select navigation app, get directions”, while driving.

    • Agreed. But “less distracting” isn’t “not distracting”. Like I said – I’m an extremist. 🙂

      • Sigivald

        The most distracting thing I’ve ever seen in a car is “passengers”.

        • lucascott

          Ban those also.

          And up the age to get a license to drive to like 25 so we can be sure that only mature adults are driving.

          • JohnDoey

            Age has nothing to do with whether or not you are a good driver. It has everything to do with experience. If you change the driving age to 25, then people 25–30 would have all the same additional accidents that people 16–21 have today.

            And you’d put a whole bunch of people out of work because they would have no way to get to work, or because their job requires them to drive while working. Most people live in cities and towns that are architected solely for drivers.

          • “Age has nothing to do with whether or not you are a good driver.”

            Statistically untrue. Young (under 25) drivers and old (over 65) drivers are provably “less safe” (in the sense they have more accidents) than the people in-between those age ranges.

        • Meaux

          Actually, talking to someone on the phone is more distracting than passengers*. Passengers know when to STFU when the conditions warrant it and can act as a separate set of eyes. Even hands-free phone calls aren’t any safer.

          • I am assuming adults and not kids/teenagers
      • James Hughes

        Yes, but by being such an extremist I think you are also being unrealistic. At least this approach, Carplay, is a step in the right direction. As Anon mentioned too many people are already doing as he wrote.

        • But doesn’t “extremist = unrealistic”? 🙂

          I completely understand that my position isn’t shared by many. But it’s still something to consider, however briefly. 🙂

          • James Hughes

            I think more people share your position than you may realize, I certainly do. But the momentum for this type of technology is moving forward one way or the other. For me at least, I would rather it be Apple leading the charge than say Microsoft or really any other company.

          • Agreed but by raising issues and concerns, hopefully drivers and manufacturers will keep an eye on the safety and distraction aspects of this kind of technology.

  • DarrenSaunders

    Assuming they actually make Siri useful at some point, CarPlay will end up being safer than the vast majority of current in-car systems. Instead of having to work out how to navigate through the various functions, you can just tell Siri what you’re after and (in theory) it’ll happen.

  • lucascott

    Okay so ban this. And car radios, CD players, GPS etc. And require all tech makers and car makers to build some kind of something that renders phones, tablets, computers, etc to stop working in any way if in a car in operation, even just idling.

    Because they can all be distracting. Hell your kid in the back seat can be distracting. Perhaps there should be a law they have to be muzzled in the car.

    • “Okay so ban this. And car radios, CD players, GPS etc.”

      I’m in favour of all that. 🙂

    • JohnDoey

      That all sounds great. Not sure why you think it doesn’t.

      All that stuff can operate only when pulled over to the side of the road, with the possible exception of the GPS voice (not screen.) People have been pulling over to look at a map for 100 years. Not sure why we think they need to see the map while they are driving, especially when the GPS talks to you.

  • JohnDoey

    As a pedestrian who always lives in the downtown core of major cities, these kinds of technologies scare the crap out of me, too.

    I regularly have to jump out of the way of a car as I cross the street, only to look over and see the driver is looking at the dashboard or a phone.

    My second-biggest fear is someone will hit me with their car. My first-biggest fear is someone will hit me with their car and I’ll drag them out of it and murder them.

    • “My first-biggest fear is someone will hit me with their car and I’ll drag them out of it and murder them.”

      LMAO Yeah – the one time I was in a situation on the motorcycle where a driver ran me off the road, the adrenaline rush was such that I ran down the street with every intention of pulling them out of their car and beating them senseless.

  • Twenty years ago, I was rooting around on the passenger seat looking for the second cassette of the audiobook to jam into the slot in the centre console. Now it just carries on playing the whole four hours.

    There’s got to be a strong element of personal responsibility in this, and an irresponsible driver will probably still manage to kill someone whether he’s distracted by CarPlay in 2014 or by emptying his ash tray out of his window in 1974.

  • I don’t understand why everyone immediately jumps to equivalency arguments and sarcastic calls to ban everything in a vehicle which could possibly distract someone. The need is to develop things that distract less. If this kind of technology is it, then great. If not, then it needs to be regulated within distracted driving laws just as anything else is.

    Personally, I’m more worried about tech like Google Glass. While the idea of a heads-up display seems appealing in keeping eyes pointed in the general direction of the road while accessing driving information like directions, you know very well people will be accessing texts and email with it. This could be (along with apps already on phones that read messages aloud) a step in a better direction.