New 'infotainment' tech in vehicles increases distracted driving risk

Complicated 'infotainment' car increasing risk of road deaths

Study: New 'infotainment' tech in vehicles increases distracted driving risk

Distracted driving largely goes unreported because most of the drivers involved in the accident do not accept that they were distracted during the driving. Technology built into cars by manufacturers may ironically be just as unsafe. With one in three USA adults using infotainment systems while driving, AAA cautions that using these technologies while behind the wheel can have unsafe consequences. "And drivers should avoid the temptation to engage with these technologies, especially for non-driving tasks".

Infotainment systems are typically touch-screen based systems that provide directions, music, phone capability and radio, among other options.

Drivers taking their eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles their chances of a crash, AAA said.

"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. And it's becoming more complicated to use. Programming navigation while driving was available in 12 of the 30 vehicle systems tested.

To lower risk and make systems safer, AAA recommends that automakers follow the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's voluntary guidelines.

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Moreover, researchers found that most infotainment systems tested could easily be made safer by simply following clearly stated federal recommendations such as locking out text messaging, social media and programming navigation while the vehicle is in motion.

"These are solvable problems".

Some automakers have already disabled certain infotainment features when the vehicle is in drive.

David Strayer, the lead scientist in the study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said that most of the States have a rule against texting behind the wheel, and some require hands-free cellphone use. "Drivers should only use these technologies for legitimate emergencies or urgent, driving related purposes".

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