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Negative safety rating points in crash tests if functions used via screens

Written by Nizam Shaikh

EuroNCAP, the safety ratings organisation from Belgium could be planning to slash safety points for cars that use only touchscreens for vehicle functions. According to sources, Euro NCAP will start deducting a maximum of 5 points out of a total 100 in its Safe Driving rating. A total of 5 points in the “intuitive, easy-to-use vehicle controls” category is likely to bring back buttons instead of only touchscreens that we are seeing recently on newer cars.

The Euro NCAP’s Safe Driving rating is likely to go online from 2026. This means that vehicles which don’t allow the driver to activate the turn signals, hazard lights, windshield wipers, horn and eCall SOS without having two touch a screen will be unable to score points in this area. As manufacturers target to achieve full points on their products, many brand’s which are using only touchscreens for functions are likely to start offering physical button which are more intuitive.

Touchscreen VS. Physical Buttons

While touchscreens can pack more into a less space making the interiors uncluttered and neat. Without physical buttons, even simple functions such as changing the interior temperature also poses as a risk as the driver has to deviate their vision from the road. However, the minimalist look on the dashboard and the familiarity due to the use of touchscreen cellphones has encouraged manufacturers the integrate even the simpler functions on the infotainment screens.

While touchscreens are easy to use when the car is stationary. However, without a physical touch and feel, a screen with multiple pages and functions is quite dangerous. Even functions such as navigation using just the touchscreen and no voice command can distract the driver which could lead to an accident. However, many manufacturers are also taking a U-turn by adding at least hotkeys close to the infotainment systems which the driver can intuitively use for navigation and to answer or reject calls.

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