Wi-Fi in cars: Great innovation, greater safety hazard

In-dash computer

Your 12-year-old probably has a more sophisticated cell phone than I do.

It's more a case of being thrifty than technologically challenged. All I want my cell phone to do is make and receive calls, as well as provide a full keyboard for texting.

Because of this connectivity ambivalence, I have mixed emotions on the issue of Wi-Fi in cars.

Chrysler has featured Uconnect with Wi-Fi in some of its vehicles for a couple of years. Cadillac also offers some Internet access. MyFord Touch has a Wi-Fi application as well. There are others.

Soon, Internet connectivity in our cars will be as common as satellite radio.

As a passenger, I might like to be able to get online and pursue my Internet passions as I'm being driven down the highway.

I can also imagine how helpful such connectivity might be for a person who works out of his car. He could pull into a drive-in restaurant, buy a coffee and get updated without ever leaving the comfort of his vehicle.


On the other hand, I can't help but think that as drivers we have our hands full just safely operating the car. Even connectivity with voice recognition capability requires the driver to divert some attention from the job at hand.

At what point does safety trump convenience?

There are already enough people on the road texting, applying makeup, eating Egg McMuffins and screaming at their kids who aren't paying sufficient attention to what they are doing.

Do we really need another distraction?

I don't think it's the caveman in me driving my concerns. I know people who are bad drivers when driving is all they are doing.

Multitasking when behind the wheel puts all of us in danger.

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