In the past few years, issues related to distracted driving have come to the forefront, as this issue can not only be incredibly dangerous for drivers and passengers alike, but also lead to significant increases in risk for auto insurance companies. Now, a new device is drawing the ire of some experts because of the ways in which it could lead to such problems in the future. Insurance agents will certainly have to monitor this situation, as it could end up negatively impacting consumers’ auto coverage premiums going forward.
Apple recently introduced a new product – not yet available for sale – known as CarPlay that will allow drivers to receive calls, send text messages by speaking aloud, and perform other functions they would have needed their smartphone to perform in the past, according to a report from CNNMoney. But at the same time, experts in the auto industry say that this all equates to distractions, and while it’s safer than texting and driving, or even dialing the phone while in traffic, it nonetheless poses a significant concern.
“We’re very, very concerned about it,” David Teater, senior director at the nonprofit National Safety Council, told the news agency. “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.”
How widespread will the issue be?
CarPlay will be available in new Volvo, Ferrari, and Mercedes-Benz cars later this year, then make their debuts for GM, Ford, Toyota, and Honda models at an indeterminate point in the future, the report said. That’s obviously a healthy number of the world’s largest auto manufacturers, but furthermore, a competing technology from Google, utilizing its Android mobile operating system, will also be available for Audi, GM, Honda, and Hyundai vehicles in 2014 as well. Both tech giants say that these technologies should actually serve to make driving safer, not more dangerous. The most government recent data, meanwhile, suggests that distracted driving led to more than 3,300 deaths and 421,000 injuries in 2012 alone, and few states even ban use of phones while driving.
More accidents generally means an increase in auto insurance rates overall, as companies try to cover their costs by spreading them across their entire customer base. This could be problematic for agents because it might prompt consumers to start shopping around for new coverage if their premiums go up.