AAA: 'Infotainment' centers a major distraction for drivers

Many new satnavs demand very high concentration levels from drivers
Credit
Telegraph

The study done by AAA finds that technology built into the dashboards of many cars is taking drivers' eyes and attention off the road and their hands off the wheel for potentially unsafe periods of time.

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.

Distracted driving largely goes unreported because most of the drivers involved in the accident do not accept that they were distracted during the driving.

Fatal crashes are on the rise in the USA, and distracted driving is a major reason for the increase, the foundation believes.

"Some of the most advanced systems are really very hard for the driver to use", says 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.

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"We strongly urge drivers to avoid the temptation of engaging with technology that distracts them from the mentally-demanding job of driving", said RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams. "When an in-vehicle technology is not properly designed, simple tasks for drivers can become complicated and require more effort from drivers to complete". However, that may be more than offset by infotainment systems, according to new research.

Known as "infotainment centers", these touch screen panels require drivers to look at the screen for longer periods than a traditional radio would.

Programming navigation was the most distracting task, taking an average of 40 seconds for drivers to complete, the group noted.

Some had navigation services that were so hard to use that a auto driving at 25 miles per hour would cover the length of four football pitches by the time the driver had entered a destination. Of these 30 vehicles, 23 were found to have "high" or "very high" levels of demand.

Toyota had three vehicles coming in with "low" rankings, including the Camry SE, Corolla SE and the Toyota Sienna XLE.

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