Cars today have more electronic devices than ever before. While much of the focus on preventing distracted driving collisions is on cell phones and texting, in-vehicle electronics like GPS systems and music systems can also take a driver’s eyes and attention off the road. This can cause a collision and victims should consult with a Missouri distracted driving attorney for help making an accident claim against the distracted driver.
As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has its first ever-national campaign to discourage distracted driving and encourage enforcement of cell phone bans, efforts are also being made to deal with the problems that in-vehicle systems present. These efforts might center around something as simple as a new typeface.
Research into Fonts on In-Vehicle Technology Shows Promise
The Washington Post reported on the growing importance of making in-vehicle devices easier to read. Drivers are getting older, and small type on electronic systems will become increasingly harder for them to read. The more difficult it is for people to read text on GPS devices or other control systems, the more time their eyes are away from the road.
The MIT AgeLab and Monotype are studying how much of a difference the font can make on in-car media. The answer is a big difference. When a test was run with drivers on a simulated course looking at a small navigation screen, drivers who looked at a screen with a traditional typeface in the grotesque genre looked away from the road for considerably longer than drivers who looked at a screen with a typeface in the humanist genre. The drivers with the grotesque type had their eyes off the road for so much longer than the difference amounted to traveling an extra 50 feet at highway speeds. Male drivers were the ones most affected by the typeface change.
With this promising research, Monotype was inspired to work on a special new font called Burlingame. The font has been released and some car manufacturers have already begun to explore using it on in-car display systems.
This is not the first time that typography and transportation policy have mixed. The Federal Highway Safety Administration (FHSA) worked with Penn State researchers to create a new font called Clearview that is now used voluntarily by states on most highway signs. Studies showed that drivers could see signs using this font 20 percent further away during nighttime driving as compared with signs that use other fonts.
These simple changes can make a big difference and hopefully more car manufacturers will realize that the fonts they use can impact safety. Drivers, however, need to remember that any time they look at an electronic device and not the road, they are taking a dangerous risk with their own lives and with the lives of other motorists. It is always better for drivers to look ahead and around at all times and to leave any manipulation of in-vehicle electronic devices for passengers to do or for when the vehicle is stopped.
Missouri distracted driving accident victims should contact the offices of Tolbert Beadle and Musgrave LLC at 1-800-887-4030.