Road safety campaigners warn about dangers of touchscreen technology
Touchscreen systems in cars that allow drivers to check their social media accounts will 'cause more deaths on the roads' according to campaigners.
Special display screens that allow motorists to view their Facebook and Twitter sites have been branded a distraction and a 'potential death trap'.
Such screens are already available in models of Toyotas, Audis and Hondas, with Ford and Nissan set to follow suit next year.
Research by car insurers suggests that 90 per cent of crashes are caused by distractions, and campaigners fear these in-car advances could only cause more problems, although there are no specific figures car entertainment systems.
Gary Rae of road safety charity Brake told The Times that this technology would provide an 'enormous distraction' to drivers.
He said: 'Sadly the marketing people and not the safety people are in the driving seat with this technology.
'It is quite clear that transferring apps from smartphones to the dashboard is an enormous distraction and could lead to casualties on the road.'
He added: 'If they [touchscreens] prove to be dangerous then restrictions should be placed on them'.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) added a new strategy around dashboard technology was needed to avoid a 'serious problem' over the next 10 to 15 years.
It said drivers could travel around 30 yards without seeing where they are going if they take their eyes off the road for just two-and-a-half seconds.
But car makers insist these displays are safe and the apps they use are designed to take as little time possible to use, with many based around voice commands or by controls on the steering wheel.
Audi currently has a 'connect' system through which drivers can read news bulletins while Toyota's X-Touch 7in display screen lets motorists access a variety of apps including YouTube.
Meanwhile Vauxhall Corsa drivers can send text messages through a 7in touchscreen as well as access in-car apps.
The German car firm added it had run simulations on 'driver behaviour under real-world road conditions' as part of its tests of its system.
A spokesman for the Department of Transport said Britain has 'some of the safest roads in the world' but warned that drivers 'must take responsibility for their actions'.
Footnote: Toyota New Zealand says it does not offer this technology on models in this market.