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If Cars With Touchscreens Are Unsafe, Why Do We Have Them?



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With homage to Ralph Nader, author of Unsafe at Any Speed, a landmark in consumer advocacy and journalism, today’s story looks at just how little the major auto manufacturers care about safety by forcing us to take our eyes off the road to navigate often confusing touchscreens and turning us into distracted drivers.

While most people think of Tesla as the first automobile with all functions contained in a 17-inch touchscreen, first place actually goes to the 1986 Buick Riviera with its Graphic Control Center for climate control, radio, graphic equalizer, trip calculations, gauges and vehicle diagnostic information. It is “a bad joke,” automotive journalist Brock Yates wrote in September 1986. It “does nothing that a conventional array of knobs, buttons and analog instruments could not do in a fraction of the time.”