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Distracted Driving: Plugging In, Zoning Out

07 October 2017, 12:19 | Gretchen Simon

BUSINESS New cars are more distracting than ever 5 Oct 2017 5:30pm 4 minutes to read Distractions in new cars are a problem

BUSINESS New cars are more distracting than ever 5 Oct 2017 5:30pm 4 minutes to read Distractions in new cars are a problem

If you have a hard time using the infotainment systems in new cars, you're not the only one.

"The workload associated with these new systems is very high", Dr. Strayer says.

Drivers looked away from the road less when using voice commands, but that safety benefit was offset by the increased amount of time drivers spent interacting with the systems.

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

"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 Yang, executive director of the foundation, said in a statement. AAA found that a dozen of the 30 vehicles tested had systems that required high demand from drivers.

The study found, for instance, that something as common as entering navigation information could distract a driver for as much as 40 seconds when using some of the latest auto tech. When driving at 25 miles per hour, a driver can travel the length of four football fields during the time it could take to enter a destination in navigation-all while distracted from the important task of driving. Hopefully this study helps us all get on the Road to Zero and commit to keeping each other safe.

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

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".

Carmakers have been pushing the envelope year after year and with technology becoming so advanced and intuitive, it seems only natural that the way cars work and support drivers should undergo a huge change.

Hands-free technology doesn't mean risk free. The guidelines recommend that automakers lock out the ability to program navigation systems while a vehicle is moving. This block is recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration but is merely part of voluntary guidelines.

"These are solvable problems".

Study reveals cars already have plenty of things to distract drivers.

Researchers at the University of Utah stepped into over 30 new cars to measure how much time a driver spends looking at their screens, not the road.

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.

Carmakers are cramming more and more technology into our cars-including the ones we still have to drive.

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