Science

Vehicle infotainment systems becoming more distracting

Vehicle infotainment systems becoming more distracting”

Infotainment systems distract drivers, and navigation systems could be the biggest culprit, according to a new study.

M - Much of the conversation around distracted driving has centered on mobile devices, but a new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests that in-car infotainment systems are also a culprit.

None of the 30 vehicle infotainment systems produced low demand and many of them offered features unrelated to the core task of driving.

Participants were given a chance familiarize themselves with the road and vehicle's system, and then asked to call, send a text message, tune the radio or program navigation while driving. That's the same amount of time it would take to travel the length of four football fields while driving at 25 miles per hour, which is too much time and too much distance traveled without proper focus on the road. Programming navigation and sending a text message. Researchers rated 23 of the 30 vehicles "very high" or "high" in terms of the attention they demanded from drivers. The scale ranged from low to very high levels of demand.

"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, AAA's president and CEO.

It appears distracted driving is getting worse.

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"We welcome the innovation and technology into the vehicle".

Programming navigation was the most distracting task, taking an average of 40 seconds for drivers to complete. As technology becomes more integrated into cars, making sure that it happens safely is a growing challenge for automakers and drivers alike.

Now some automakers already ban some features from being used when the vehicle is moving. Deaths involving distracted driving jumped 8.8% to 3,477 in 2015, the latest year in which statistics were available, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The CDC says it's not just your cell phone, it's anything that takes your eyes off the wheel.

Members of the auto industry, who strongly discourage texting and driving, was critical of the new research and methods.

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.



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