In my work as a Boston car accident lawyer, I have seen firsthand the devastation that is caused by accidents – everything from distracted driving to drunk driving. Texting, talking on cellphones, eating, applying makeup – these are all threats to everyone’s safety, when done when you are sitting in the driver’s seat.
But now, an auto manufacturer - one of the most upscale - has come up with a new feature in their cars, that is almost certainly going to make drivers fall asleep at the wheel. I’m not kidding.
Mercedes-Benz has designed a new car so that it creates a spa-like experience while you drive. My jaw has dropped as I read about this. I have represented people who have fallen asleep at the wheel, and trust me -- it isn't pretty. The new Mercedes-Benz S550 4-Matic was designed by German engineers to become a spa-like escape on four wheels. To me, this is the very definition of distracted driving.
Scent is pumped into the car, in four different aromas, and it turns off and on intermittently, so that your senses are not dulled to the smell. Some of the heated seats have a seat back that inflates and deflates, massaging your shoulder blades to lower back. Yes, that’s right – you get a relaxing, "mini massage" as you drive. In my opinion as a Massachusetts distracted driving lawyer, heated seats and massage chairs lead to one thing: Dozing off. Falling asleep. And in this case, if you snooze, you really lose. Your life.
Other parts of the automobile are also heated – the armrests, door rests and even the steering wheels. Isn’t all of this car marketing just another way of turning the driver’s seat into a comfy bed? The only thing missing is a blanket and turndown service with chocolates.
I’ve heard of luxury car marketing, but this idea pushes corporate irresponsibility to its limits, and borders on automobile product liability.
Auto manufacturers should be creating safety features that help you to wake up and be alert behind the wheel. If you’re going to pump in fragrance, make those scents in coffee or sweet-orange oil to wake you up and energize you . Massage chairs for drivers' seats should be against the law. Heated massage chairs only want to make you snuggle up and snore.
For Heaven’s sake, please stay awake at the wheel and don’t fall for marketing that does NOT have your best interests at heart.