December 18, 2017

Vehicle 'infotainment' systems may increase distracted driving, AAA says

06 October 2017, 12:32 | Ross Houston

The dashboard based systems allow drivers to text use the radio make phone calls or operate a satellite navigation system

The dashboard based systems allow drivers to text use the radio make phone calls or operate a satellite navigation system

The drivers used voice commands, touch screens and other interactive technologies to make calls, send texts, tune the radio or program navigation all while driving.

Texting while driving is a well-known distraction for drivers, exponentially increasing the likelihood of a crash.

As cars evolve and technology becomes more advanced, entertainment consoles are becoming increasingly complex.

Infotainment options now allow drivers to use social media, email and text while behind the wheel.

AAA is sharing the results of its study with automakers. "And drivers should avoid the temptation to engage with these technologies, especially for non-driving tasks".

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With one in three USA adults using touchscreens and other infotainment systems in their vehicle, this new research is aimed to help automakers and system designers improve the functionality of new systems and the demand they place on drivers.

Jake Nelson, AAA's director of traffic safety advocacy and research, said that in all the 30 models of 2017 that were tested, the drivers took their hands and eyes off the steering while using the infotainment system.

"What we found is much of that technology is just too distracting, it just took the drivers eyes of the road and their mind off the drive for far too long", said Strayer. Deaths involving distracted driving jumped 8.8% to 3,477 in 2015, the latest year in which statistics were available, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Researchers rated 23 of the 30 vehicles "very high" or "high" in terms of the attention they demanded from drivers. These include locking out certain features while a auto is in motion, including text messaging, entering navigation and social media access. "By following NHTSA's voluntary guidelines to lock out certain features that generate high demand while driving, automakers can significantly reduce distraction", Albert added.

"Drivers want technology that is safe and easy to use, but numerous features added to infotainment systems today have resulted in overly complex and sometimes frustrating user experiences for drivers", said Marshall Doney, President of the AAA.

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