Text size


Highways England boss speaks out against safety of in-car touchscreens

Highways England boss speaks out against safety of in-car touchscreens


Chief executive has said that systems could pose a safety threat

A Highways England chief has questioned the safety aspect of in-car touchscreen systems.

Jim O’Sullivan, chief executive of Highways England, told an audience in London that “we don’t like” in-car touchscreens because of the safety risk they pose.

O’Sullivan voiced his concerns in response to European Commission estimates which believe that between 10 and 30 per cent of accidents are caused by driver distraction. Meanwhile car makers have consolidated the controls for such functions as heating and ventilation, radios and even the boot to the car’s touchscreen.

He said:

“Clearly we need to think about touchscreens with small, fiddly buttons” adding “we don’t like them from a safety perspective.”


Auto Express reports that O’Sullivan was responding to a question about ‘how motorways could be digitised without alienating drivers who are less technologically adept’.

Highways England is, according to Auto Express, testing a new system which will relay the information usually displayed on motorway gantries on vehicle infotainment screens. The system is very much in the development process for now, and it is unknown as to how long this technology will be available for use by the public.

O’Sullivan said that systems such as voice activation needed more use to ensure that user interfaces remained “intuitive” while “looking familiar” too.