Mouse operated car control systems could be outlawed in US
1 October 2003

Complex cockpit control systems like BMW’s controversial iDrive could be outlawed by US safety legislators.

The shock idea is raised in a discussion document published last week in the US by NHTSA, a government road safety agency. It is investigating the complexity of cockpit design, including controls, gauges and warning lights.

It also launches a consultation process on how to legislate for multi-function controls: ‘We seek [public] comment on whether the selection of some controller/multi-task display combinations are, or could become, too complex for some drivers.’

The discussion document reveals that Porsche and Mazda have asked for clarification of the rules governing a ‘combination multi-function switch/ rotary dial’, suggesting they too are developing iDrive rivals.

US law requires a display and its control to be adjacent to each other, to make information systems easier to use. However, this does not currently apply to joystick controls and TV displays.

Join the debate


5 August 2013

"puck" based systems are far less concentration occupying than trying to use a touch screen in a car. Have tired both and the touch screen is terrible even when just trying to hit the simplest of heating controls.

15 August 2013

Totoally agree, touch screens are a nightmare , the BMW system is an easy thing to use, and has voice input.

Sadly does this refect on the "Inteigence" of american user, or just more bureaucratic  BS.

6 August 2013

I've got iDrive and it's fairly easy to use.   Saves on having hundreds of buttons on the dash too.


I think you've just got to ensure that the menus are simple, clear, and don't have too many levels to it.   More iPod than Diamond Rio!   Yes, get Apple to design the menus and it will all turn out lovely.


7 August 2013

Wouldn't say ban it, just disable it whilst the car is moving.

But you have to laugh at the suggestion coming from the USA - the land of the drive-thru everything. Balancing your 2L small cup of cola, your medium 1lb Cheeseburger and fries AND operate idrive at the same time...  what were those German designers thinking about?


Agree with touch screen though - it's more difficult to use. Anything but the smoothest road surface and it's like target practice trying to change radio stations. 

7 August 2013

The article is from 2003, google the title.....


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK