Mercedes-Benz is at the centre of a safety row over a new in-car system that allows drivers to update their Facebook status at the wheel.
The gadget is part of the sat-nav system in upcoming SL class models, and lets users update their location on Facebook at the wheel.
Mercedes hopes that drivers will use the system to update friends with their location as they drive towards a meeting or a lunch date.
‘It is inconceivable that a major manufacturer such as Mercedes would even contemplate allowing such a system to be fitted to their vehicles,’ said Road Safety GB chairman Alan Kennedy.
‘The biggest and most obvious worry is, of course, distraction.No matter how driver friendly the system is, I fear we will see an increase in the number of Mercedes cars wrapped around trees, pedestrians and cyclists.’
‘This is something the road safety profession must resist.’
Drivers are blocked from wordy status updates while at the wheel, but can press a button to let friends know their location.
‘It is no more distracting than tuning your radio. You just press a button and it’ll update your friends,’ said a spokesperson.
The mbrace2 system was introduced by Mercedes chief executive Steve Cannon who heralded the age of ‘a truly networked vehicle that is always online.’
But Road Safety GB – the professional body of British road safety officers – and the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety said it will encourage drivers to avert their eyes from the road ahead and called for its introduction to be halted.