Distracted Driving: Plugging In, Zoning Out

06 October, 2017, 00:47 | Author: Barbara Daniel
  • The dashboard based systems allow drivers to text use the radio make phone calls or operate a satellite navigation system

"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.

Strayer and his team of researchers at the University of Utah were commissioned by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety to examine the time it took drivers to complete a task using the infotainment systems in dozens of 2017 vehicles. However, these features can distract the driver, putting their lives at risk.

New vehicle infotainment systems take drivers' eyes and attention off the road and their hands off the wheel for potentially risky periods of time, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Subaru's infotainment system uses a 6.2-inch touchscreen, though there's also a 7-inch, which still requires the driver to look away from the road.

"Some of the latest systems on the market now include functions unrelated to the core task of driving like sending text messages, checking social media or surfing the web - tasks we have no business doing behind the wheel", said Lloyd Albert, AAA Northeast's Senior Vice President of Public and Government Affairs.

Touch-screen and voice-controlled systems are "allowing us to do other things besides driving, but the primary task should really be to get from point A to point B safely, he continued".

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

Texting while driving is a well-known distraction for drivers, exponentially increasing the likelihood of a crash. A new study now shows that vehicles themselves can be a distraction. 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.

The organization said the results of the work might get auto companies to rethink how they build technology into cars.

"The cars that used the screens and the touch pads were probably the ones that made me feel the most uncomfortable", says Meijias.

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