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Improving Road Safety: Euro NCAP’s Advocate for Intuitive Tactile Controls

Published 6 March 2024

When it comes to car safety, even the smallest detail may have a big impact.   Euro NCAP is a leader in the industry, establishing guidelines and incentivising automakers to put drivers’ and passengers’ safety first.

Richard Schram, the Technical Director of The European New Car Assessment Program  NCAP, recently highlighted the importance of tactile controls for key driving features.


Recognising the Value of Tactile Controls

The physical buttons, switches, or knobs, which can be operated without taking eyes off the road, are the tactile controls.  The trend has been moving towards fully touch screen controls, that have the disadvantage of requiring visual attention.  Any time a driver has to take their eyes off the road is a safety concern.

Tactile controls enable drivers to make necessary adjustments to the vehicle’s features while maintaining their focus on the road by offering tactile feedback. This improves driving experience by making it more intuitive and user-friendly while also increasing safety.



Euro NCAP’s Initiative for User-Friendly Features

From 2026 Schram has confirmed that Euro NCAP will incentivise original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to have physical controls for the main driving features like wipers, warning lights, and indicators.

Matthew Avery, Director of Strategic Development at Euro NCAP in an interview with British daily newspaper The Times said “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. New Euro NCAP tests due in 2026 will encourage manufacturers to use separate, physical controls for basic functions in an intuitive manner, limiting eyes-off-road time and therefore promoting safer driving.” 

How this will be implemented is still a work in progress but Schram suggested it could include 5 out of 100 points under Safe Driving to push manufacturers to have easy-to-use vehicle controls.

This initiative aims to raise the bar for safety standards by reducing the reliance on touchscreens.


Embracing Euro NCAP Changes

Car manufacturers run each new model through NCAP tests to show buyers how safe their vehicle is.  A high safety rating is fantastic for marketing.  It is understook that manufacturers are already onboard with the NCAP changes.

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