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GM eyes link between gadgets, distraction

DETROIT, Mich. -- General Motors has initiated a three-year, US$1.6-million program to study driver distraction.


DETROIT, Mich. — General Motors has initiated a three-year, US$1.6-million program to study driver distraction.

As the issue of driver distraction finds its way onto the radar screens of more politicians, the automaker has decided to take a proactive approach to addressing any concerns.

GM will help upgrade a driving simulator at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

“We want to come up with a way to measure the attention a driver is paying to the road in real time and to use that information to modify some of the products in our vehicles,” says Jim Rillings, manager of vehicle information technologies at GM’s Research & Development Center.

“This is part of our effort to better understand these issues and develop materials for safer drivers.”

Currently there is no quantitative evidence that electronic gadgets in vehicles have increased the number of traffic accidents around the country, according to the U.S. federal government. That said, there is a mountain of anecdotal evidence supporting this theory.


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