Touchscreens Out: Euro NCAP Cracks Down On Distracting Car Controls

Touchscreens Out: Euro NCAP Cracks Down On Distracting Car Controls

European regulators have advised car manufacturers to replace touchscreens with physical controls like knobs and buttons in order to improve their safety rating. In fact, the European New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) has announced that starting in January 2026, car manufacturers must incorporate physical controls to receive a top five-star safety rating.

An independent safety organization is warning that center control touchscreens in vehicles have become increasingly complex and can distract drivers, causing them to divert their attention for long durations. Previous research has shown that tactile buttons are both safer and more efficient to use while driving.

The Euro NCAP will soon mandate that car manufacturers include physical buttons, stalks, or dials for indicators, hazard lights, wipers, SOS calls, and the horn in order to achieve a full five-star safety rating.

Touchscreens In Cars: A Recipe For Disaster In A Distracted World?

The news comes as automakers are trying to outdo each other with the size of touchscreens adorning their vehicles like Mercedes showcasing a 56-inch “Hyperscreen” dashboard in 2021. On the other hand, Tesla has chosen to eliminate physical controls and hide basic functions in menus on a central touchscreen, causing frustration among users.

However, the Euro NCAP does not possess the authority to dictate car manufacturers’ actions. Their role is to highlight that to achieve maximum ratings, the inclusion of certain physical controls is necessary. Some carmakers like Porsche, have already started reintroducing buttons and dials.

Euro NCAP has played a significant role in improving crash protection for drivers and is now focusing on how design can impact driver distraction to ensure that car controls are user-friendly and allow drivers to focus on the road.

Reference- The Verge, Euro NCAP website, Futurism, Motor Trends, Inside EVs