Safeguards for On-Board Wireless Communications

Paul Green

February 2001

Telematics, especially wireless-based technologies such as email and web access, are likely to have a huge impact in the future on the driving experience. These applications have the potential of providing a tremendous amount of information to the driver, increasing the functionality of motor vehicles to a significant degree.

In contrast to the optimistic market projections, the safety picture is less positive for telematics as these systems could distract drivers to a significant degree, making driving less safe rather than safer. This paper identifies (1) the problems associated with telematics use (especially for navigation systems and phones), (2) the factors contributing to driver overload (visual demand, cognitive demand, immediacy), (3) why safety initiatives are needed, (4) ongoing safety rulemaking (by organizations such as SAE and ISO) and (5) why a workload manager may be the best solution to safety concerns.

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