European Auto Safety Watchdog Argues for Restoring Physical Buttons

2025 volvo ex30 interior
Euro Safety Watchdog Demands Return of ButtonsVolvo
  • Give us back our physical buttons, the team at the European New Car Assessment Program demands of automakers in a recent statement.

  • Targeting Tesla, the European safety watchdog is requesting that turn signals, hazard lights, and other safety-critical features remain in physical form.

  • Without regulatory power, the Euro NCAP suggestion will likely twist automakers' arms to comply for a coveted safety rating, though such changes won't be mandatory.

The interior you see above is the nightmare of the safety-hungry team at the European New Car Assessment Program. This economical Volvo EX30 relies on a central screen, and there are no buttons in sight beyond the few on the steering wheel itself. Imagine all the distractions!


At least that's how the safety watchdog group is framing its latest demand. As manufacturers like Tesla get rid of steering wheel stalks and automakers surge toward touchscreen controls, the European NCAP is not-so-nicely asking automakers to return their physical button control.

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"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," said Matthew Avery, Euro NCAP's director of strategic development.

Specifically, turn signals, hazard lights, windshield wipers, the horn, and other critical emergency features should remain in physical form, the organization says. In part, these sorts of details seem uniquely pointed at Tesla, which packages these functions within the steering wheel.

However, the proliferation of screens is a challenge faced by all manufacturers and one that is proven to distract drivers. Anecdotally, paging through menus to access infotainment systems or climate control functions feels downright dangerous while on the move, with some manufacturers making it more complex than others.