September 2014

Linda Giang

Distraction is in your head, not your phone

Many disputes happen over what distracts a driver while they are on the road.  “We think we see way better than we do,” explains Charles Shrybman, senior regional trainer at Young Drivers. It’s not a visual problem, but one that has to do with the brain. “Cognitive disengagement — being lost in thought — is the number 1 distraction for drivers,” he says. Some 62% of distracted drivers reported “internal distraction,” such as mulling over a problem at work, making thinking the most common distraction.

The second was fiddling with the radio, and third was “external distractions,” such as staring at a roadside collision or billboard ad. Remarkably, talking on a cellphone and texting were way down the hit list of driver distractions. A lot of people became interested in distract driving around the same time that cellular phones became popular. Eating, reading and holding pets while behind the wheel have long been driver distractions, and they’re rarely considered an offense. Until there’s a collision.


Are car cameras the future?


Camera use is everywhere. From cellphones, laptops to toll roads and red lights. Now they’re about to take over your car. Automakers are embracing cameras to monitor, predict and help control what’s going on while you drive. It started with backup cameras that showed what was behind the vehicle, providing an additional view of objects and areas too low and close to see through the rear-view mirror and rear window. These cameras will be mandatory on all light vehicles sold in the U.S by 2018.

Now camera-based systems are used, in whole or in part, for a wide range of advanced driver-assistance systems, such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and control, lane centering, collision avoidance warning and auto braking. Now they’re moving towards using cameras to assist with self-driving cars.

German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz has been found guilty of manipulating prices for after-sales services in China. The report made no mention of possible penalties, but China’s 2008 anti-monopoly law allows the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s anti-trust regulator, to impose fines of up to 10% of a company’s China revenues for the previous year.

An array of industries, from milk powder makers to electronics firms, have been coming under the spotlight in recent years as China intensifies its efforts to bring companies into compliance with the 2008 legislation.

The Jiangsu Province Price Bureau, which launched an investigation last month, found evidence of anti-competitive practices after raiding Mercedes-Benz dealerships in the eastern coastal province and an office in neighboring Shanghai, Xinhua said in its report on Sunday. Industry experts say automakers have too much leverage over car dealers and auto part suppliers in China, enabling them to control prices, considered as a violation of the country’s anti-trust laws.

Foreign car brands, all of whom operate in China through joint ventures with a local partner, have been fiercely competing to up their share in the world’s largest car market.