Opinion: Distracted driving: Automakers need to get back in touch with haptic controls

Advance Media’s Larry Higgs reported last week on a recently released State Police analysis showing that in 2018 there were 146 fatal crashes caused by driver inattention as compared to 143 caused by driver intoxication.

This is a result of progress – progress that we need to reverse.

A mere fifteen years ago I bought a Mazda-6 station wagon with a 235-horsepower motor and a five-speed.

I loved driving it. What I particularly liked is that most of the important controls were on the steering column. I could change radio stations, load CD’s and control the volume without taking my hands off the wheel.

This was real progress, I thought. But before long automakers decided to focus the driver’s attention back to the middle of the dashboard.

They installed TV screens that turned the typical automobile console into a touch screen better suited to an i-phone or a laptop.