Car Infotainment Systems Increase Driver Distractions
“Car infotainment system” is the generic term for a variety of automotive voice-command and Bluetooth-enabled interfaces that allow drivers to keep their hands on the wheel while changing the radio station, inputting GPS destinations, calling contacts and more.
But are these systems really safer, just because the driver’s hands are on the wheel? A new study carried out for AAA by University of Utah researchers suggests they actually make roads more dangerous by increasing distractions.
Researchers looked at various car infotainment systems installed in 2015 vehicles. They concluded the most highly distracting systems can take drivers’ attention away from the highway for up to 27 seconds after drivers interact with the system. If a car is going 25 miles per hour, this equates to the length of three football fields.
With less complex systems, drivers are impacted for at least 15 seconds after disengagement. The study found older drivers are more affected by the infotainment system than younger people.
In terms of distractions, the Mazda6 ranks number one. Other poor performers included the Ford Taurus, Volkswagen Passat and Nissan Altima.
The study also looked at voice-command interfaces on smartphones and mobile devices. Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana seem more distracting to drivers than Google Now.
Because car infotainment systems tend to be rigid, they need users to give them specific commands to complete tasks. Just because drivers use the right commands, does not mean that the system will understand and respond correctly. This confusion leads drivers to focus more on troubleshooting the system than paying attention to the road.
AAA plans to study a comparison of traditional systems that necessitate a driver to glance down and use their hands with today’s car infotainment systems.
If you were injured in an auto collision due to a distracted driver, contact us today. Our experienced car accident lawyers will help get the maximum compensation you deserve.