New 'infotainment' tech in vehicles increases distracted driving risk

The study published at the beginning of October 2017 has been commissioned by the foundation for the Road Safety of Automobile Association American at the university of Utah who has tested 30 vehicles boarding of new connected systems.

Participants in the AAA study were required to use voice commands and touch screens to make calls, send text messages, tune the radio or program navigation while driving.

"To put that in perspective if you travel at 25 miles per hour for 40 seconds, you cover the length of four football fields", Dan Goodman of AAA Northern New England said.

Programming navigation while driving was available in 12 of the 30 vehicle systems tested.

"It's adding more and more layers of complexity and information at drivers' fingertips without often considering whether it's a good idea to put it at their fingertips", Strayer said.

"When an in-vehicle technology is not properly designed, simple tasks for drivers can become complicated and require more effort from drivers to complete", he said in an AAA news release. With one in three US adults using infotainment systems while driving, AAA cautions that using these technologies while behind the wheel can have unsafe consequences.

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AAA has conducted this new research to help automakers and system designers improve the functionality of new infotainment systems and the demand they place on drivers. Texting was the second-most distracting task performed by test drivers.

The study suggests automakers could ultimately limit access to certain highly distracting technology when the vehicle is in motion.

AAA is critical of manufacturers enabling features unrelated to the core task of driving, such as sending a text message and checking social media.

The bright touchscreens and other technology being squeezed into the dashboards of new cars certainly look cool, but scientists have found that it also takes drivers' eyes off the road for dangerously long periods of time.

New in-car technology systems are "too distracting" despite being created to curtail the use of handheld mobile devices while driving, the American Automobile Association found in a new report. "This is troublesome", the report says, "because motorists may assume that features that are enabled when they are driving are safe and easy to use".


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