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Is new car tech increasing distracted driving?

If you have shopped for a new vehicle in the last few years or even simply seen the myriad of new vehicle ads on television, you know that more and more new vehicles are rolling off the manufacturing line with a host of technology built into them. Some of this technology focuses on safety while some of it focuses on communication and entertainment. Infotainment systems are those that allow a person to communicate electronically, get directional assistance and enjoy music while driving.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study of 40 different infotainment systems to assess the level of visual and cognitive demand they placed on drivers. Visual and cognitive distractions are two of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving. Demand levels were identified as low, moderate, high and very high. Of the 40 systems evaluated, none fell into the low demand level category while 17 fell into the very high demand level category. High demand was required by 12 systems with moderate demand required by the remaining 11.

In the study, drivers were asked to program navigation, setup music, send messages and make phone calls by both voice and touch commands. Even the best systems tested took drivers’ eyes and minds away from driving for 33 seconds to complete some of these tasks. Some systems took as long as 48 seconds to conduct tasks.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give people some information to help them understand the various risks that may be faced on the road as more technology features in vehicles become standard issue.

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