Monday, June 6, 2011
Transportation Secretary: Social Media in Cars Is Unnecessary
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, LaHood said he is lobbying automakers not to add features that could distract drivers. “There’s absolutely no reason for any person to download their Facebook into the car,” LaHood said in the interview, showing a shaky command of social media terminology. “It’s not necessary.”
LaHood’s opinion on the matter is significant: He and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which reports to him, can force automakers to stop adding social media feeds to new cars. He is also pushing for them to create public service campaigns against texting and driving. So far, two automakers — Subaru and BMW — have done so. BMW’s campaign, showing an overprotective mom who nevertheless endangers her kids by texting and driving, went live on June 3.
Despite LaHood’s opposition, many carmakers are busy integrating social media hooks into their new models.
Toyota, for instance, inked a deal with Salesforce.com last month to create “Toyota Friend,” a social network for Toyota drivers. Toyota is also working with Microsoft on a software system called Entune that will let drivers access a version of Bing and Pandora.
General Motors has also recently added a feature to some models that lets drivers access real-time Facebook status updates. GM touted that feature in a Super Bowl ad for its Chevy Cruze.
at 9:37 AM