Researcher: 'Infotainment' Screens In Cars Putting Drivers In Danger

Oct 07, 2017, 00:18
Researcher: 'Infotainment' Screens In Cars Putting Drivers In Danger

The infotainment technology that automakers are cramming into the dashboard of new vehicles is making drivers take their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel for dangerously long periods of time, an AAA study says.

A study undertaken by the AAA Foundation for Road Safety in the US has found some in-car infotainment systems are more distracting than ever in 2017.

Newer infotainment systems often require drivers to avert their eyes from the roads, leading to more risky driving. At 25 miles per hour, that's enough time for a driver to travel the length of four football fields, a long distance to be distracted from the road.

A new car's "infotainment" screen that allows you to send text messages and navigate with Global Positioning System may have been a big selling point. AAA found that a dozen of the 30 vehicles tested had systems that required high demand from drivers.

The most distracting task is navigation, taking drivers' attention away from the road ahead for more than 40 seconds at a time on average. With one in three USA adults using infotainment systems while driving, AAA cautions that using these technologies while behind the wheel can have risky consequences.

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. The technology is typically presented as a safer alternative to using a phone while driving.

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What is most distracting operation to perform behind the wheel?

"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", continued Doney. In response, some have called for automakers to allow drivers to disable certain infotainment controls while the vehicle is running. This block is recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration but is merely part of voluntary guidelines.

That's the conclusion from new research on distracted driving released Thursday by AAA's Center for Driving Safety and Technology.

The rise of "infotainment" #Technology in cars has caused a professor to raise concern about the distraction the newest cars are providing for drivers.

"This is troublesome because motorists may assume that features that are enabled when they are driving are safe and easy to use", said David Strayer, a cognitive and neural scientist at the University of Utah, in a statement.

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