AAA: Drivers Increasingly Distracted By Dashboard Technology

Voice-controlled systems allowing motorists to use their sat-nav or text at the wheel can be so distracting they should be banned a new study advises

Voice-controlled systems allowing motorists to use their sat-nav or text at the wheel can be so distracting they should be banned a new study advises

A new study from AAA found new vehicle "infotainment" systems in cars, the digital control panels built into the dashboard, can be as distracting or more than texting.

The organisation's Foundation for Traffic Safety ran a study of thirty 2017 model cars in which drivers carried out three hours of driving on quiet residential roads.

Newer infotainment systems often require drivers to avert their eyes from the roads, leading to more unsafe driving.

Programming navigation was the most distracting task, taking an average of 40 seconds for drivers to complete, the group noted. The guidelines recommend that automakers lock out the ability to program navigation systems while a auto is moving.

The study, released Thursday, looked at 30 different infotainment systems in 2017 vehicles and assessed how much visual and mental demand was required from drivers to use their features.

Previous AAA research indicates one in three USA adults use infotainment systems while driving. "Drivers should only use these technologies for legitimate emergencies or urgent, driving related purposes".

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Frustration resulting from unsatisfactory use of these systems increases cognitive demand and the potential for distracted driving.

But with Strayer's research, it seems that the argument is focusing on the dangers that complicated technology and their interfaces, present inside a vehicle.

The biggest problem was programming navigation, something the study suggested could take as long as 40 seconds. He's been examining the impact of infotainment systems on safety since 2013.

AAA is critical of manufacturers enabling features unrelated to the core task of driving, such as sending a text message and checking social media. As technology becomes more integrated into cars, making sure that it happens safely is a growing challenge for automakers and drivers alike.

AAA president and CEO Marshall Doney said, "Automakers should aim to reduce distractions by designing systems that are no more visually or mentally demanding than listening to the radio". Other than saying they should instead use their phone, one solution might be to have such touchscreen functions disabled while in motion unless the vehicle senses two hands on the steering wheel. The latest report is the fifth phase of distraction research from AAA's Center for Driving Safety and Technology.

A warning is out about the new high-tech gadgets in the cars we drive.

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