Published: Fri, October 06, 2017
Science | By Cecil Little

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

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

The frustration that comes when it doesn't work like it is supposed to, well that is distracting to a driver as well.

Operating an infotainment system while driving is legal in the United Kingdom, however last night the RAC warned drivers against using technology while on the move.

Texting and talking on the phone may not be the only causes of distracted driving accidents.

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"Infotainment" technology that is all the rage in new cars are putting drivers in danger, according to new research.

Fatal crashes are on the rise in the US, and distracted driving is a major reason for the increase, the foundation believes. In 2015, however, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded that 3,477 people were killed and around 391,000 were injured in motor vehicles because of distracted drivers.

But Jake Nelson, AAA's director for traffic safety advocacy and research, said drivers took their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel while using infotainment systems in each of the 30 cars and light trucks, all 2017 models, that were tested in the study.

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"When an in-vehicle technology is not properly designed, simple tasks for drivers can become complicated and require more effort from drivers to complete".

David Strayer, a professor at the University of Utah, said, "Some of the most advanced systems are really very hard for the driver to use". None of the systems generated "low" distraction, according to the researchers.

"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. 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. When driving at 25 miles per hour, a driver can travel the length of four football fields during the same amount of time. Researchers rated 23 of the 30 vehicles "very high" or "high" in terms of the attention they demanded from drivers.

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There were 11 vehicles rated "high" through the testing, including: Cadillac XT5 Luxury, Chevrolet Traverse LT, Dodge Ram 1500, Ford Fusion Titanium, Hyundai Sonata Base, Infiniti Q50 Premium, Jeep Compass Sport, Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, Kia Sorento LX, Nissan Maxima SV and Toyota Rav 4 XLE.

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