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Safety: Touchscreen Commands Under Scrutiny by European Regulators

•   Europe's car safety authorities may soon be looking at touchscreens and on-screen controls.

If you follow the automotive industry at all, you know that touchscreens and on-screen commands are all the rage. Car designers are addicted to removing clutter, i.e. physical buttons. Which means moving more and more commands into on-screen menus. 

It's been said over and over again that, in many cases, doing so leads to increased driver distraction. It's becoming a safety issue that’s hard and harder to ignore.

The European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP), the main body responsible for crash safety on the old continent, plans to introduce new components to its tests as of 2026. These would rate vehicles more favourably if they have physical buttons and switches, rather than on-screen commands or touch-sensitive “buttons”, for certain essential commands.

To obtain maximum points in Euro NCAP crash tests, carmakers will thus have to reduce the number of touch and on-screen commands inside their vehicles. Initially, the focus will be on five key functions: indicators, hazard lights, wipers, emergency call and the horn. 

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