The era of automakers trying to squeeze more touchscreens onto vehicle dashboards may soon be coming to an end.

The European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP), the leading body for crash safety in Europe, plans to introduce new rules to its crash testing starting in 2026 that will favor physical controls like buttons and switches over touchscreens for key vehicle functions.

It means automakers looking to score maximum points in Euro NCAP’s crash testing will need to do away with exclusively relying on touchscreens. Initially, the physical controls will be required for five key functions: operating the turn signals, hazard lights, windshield wipers, emergency calls, and the car’s horn.

According to Matthew Avery, the director of strategic development at Euro NCAP, the reliance on touchscreens mean drivers are obliged to take their eyes off the road at critical moments.

“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,” he told The Times in an interview published on Wednesday.

Although Euro NCAP testing is voluntary, most major automakers in Europe use its crash testing to highlight the safety of their vehicles. It means design changes made to vehicles in Europe to meet the new requirements will likely also appear in vehicles sold in the U.S.

Some automakers have already started adding back some physical controls after receiving negative feedback from customers. One of them is Volkswagen, which has been criticized for an over reliance on touch controls on vehicles such as the Golf and ID.3 hatchbacks.

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