Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

Smart Cars: Will They Save Us From Bad Driving?

Smart Car photo composite

You do it, don't you? No, not that "it". The "it" I'm referring to is what I call "drive-texting", where you e-mail or text someone while driving. It's the reason so many of us have become experts (or at least we think we are) when it comes to driving with our knees.

Whether it's because we're on our cell phone, fixing our coffee, or putting on make-up, many of us do not pay as much attention as we should when driving.

Fortunately, some of the same guys with nuclear smarts are now giving us smarter cars.

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico are working on how automakers can make our cars and trucks more intelligent/safer by analyzing human behavior. For example, the cars computers could sense you are becoming tried and prompt an alert or, during a potentially busy time, prevent your cell phone from accepting incoming calls so you are not distracted.

This is just the latest research being done to make cars "smarter" at a time when many drivers are "dumber" behind the wheel. And for that, I blame us.

We're to blame because we have the attention spans of 2 year-olds and constantly have to be texting, checking the GPS, or driving while balancing a burger on one knee. In short, many of us are idiots when driving.

Will Sandia's research help save us from our stupidity? Maybe. But my gut says whatever safety features that might come out of of this research will never be able to save us from ourselves.

What do you think? Would a "smart car" make you a better driver? Let me know.

Questions?  Comments?