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European car safety body is coming for touchscreens. The European New Car Assessment Programme mandates that key controls need physical buttons or switches

www.politico.eu European car safety body is coming for touchscreens

The European New Car Assessment Programme mandates that key controls need physical buttons or switches.

European car safety body is coming for touchscreens

Carmakers are equipping their latest models with fancy touchscreens, but that could cause problems with Europe’s largest car safety authority.

The European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) is revamping its rating system starting Jan. 1, 2026 to mandate that five of a car's primary controls — its horn, windshield wipers, turn signals, hazard warning lights and SOS features — will need physical buttons or switches.

Car models will have to comply to get NCAP's coveted five-star rating. The scheme is voluntary but is heeded by most automakers because it's closely monitored by consumers.

Belgium-based NCAP says that purely digital controls are a potential safety issue.

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[Good news] European car safety body is coming for touchscreens. The European New Car Assessment Programme mandates that key controls need physical buttons or switches
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  • Belgium-based NCAP says that purely digital controls are a potential safety issue. "What we now see is we have more and more ... crashes where people are having collisions because they're being distracted," said Matthew Avery, NCAP's director of strategic development. That matters because fatal car accidents are on the rise in the EU. More than 20,000 people died on the roads in 2022, a 4 percent increase over 2021. The bloc wants to halve the number of road deaths by 2030, with the goal of zero fatalities by 2050. Moreover, if the displays don't have tactile feedback, drivers can be distracted by having to poke at the screen — unsure if the controls are registering. "The problem with touchscreens is that there is inherently a lag in them, and more importantly, there is no haptic feedback," car interiors become increasingly high-tech, the different systems are starting to diverge. Gone are the days of getting into a car and immediately knowing where all the controls are; nowadays drivers have to adjust to each new car. the illumination from the screen diminishes the ability to see down dark road[s] because pupils normally adjust when [cars] have more light inside and [the] instrument panel and touchscreen causes an additional amount of light in the car, therefore diminishing nighttime vision," Carmakers like Tesla which rely heavily on new tech will have to decide if NCAP's five-star rating is worth reversing its interior design

    Side note: touch screen are a gimmick not a new technology. the scale you have at the mall has a touch screen and has had one since the 90's. These touch screens are used in specific locations and settings to manage complex ui, with a lower maintenance cost and the chance to keep a device running for longer with a simple os update. Most touchscreen are, believe it or not, still resistive, as they have a strong feedback and they work across most temperature ranges. Most touchscreens are added to static tools like lab tools or workstations like lifts, scales, and so on. At no point they added resistive touchscreen in cars when the tech was new. Wanna know why? Touchscreens suck. Than the Iphone came and brought us here. Now we think that touchscreens are futuristic and fancy. Not, they aren't. Star wars and even Star trek had all physical control with full sets of buttons for the management of the ship. If a starship that you always liked had physical buttons why shouldn't your car have that design?

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