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Car crash tester wants fewer touchscreens, more buttons

New Euro NCAP rules will only award maximum safety points for cars that use buttons to perform critical tasks.

The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), an independent car safety tester followed by most of the continents’ automobile makers, plans to combat distracting touchscreens in vehicles.

The organization wants new cars to have buttons, dials, or stalks for essential tasks, such as triggering hazard lights, sounding the horn, indicating directions, operating wipers, and activating the eCall SOS function, The Times writes.

“The overuse of touchscreens is an industry-wide problem, with almost every vehicle-maker moving key controls onto central touchscreens, obliging drivers to take their eyes off the road and raising the risk of distraction crashes,” Matthew Avery, director of strategic development at Euro NCAP, told The Times.

The car safety body will introduce the new guidance starting in 2026. No new car will be able to get a five-star safety rating if its critical functions are only accessible via touchscreen.

Euro NCAP requirements are not mandatory, yet safety scores are a compelling selling point for new vehicles, and carmakers are expected to adjust their designs to meet the new recommendations.

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