The popularity of in-vehicle systems that allow people to make phone calls, send or receive text messages, program navigation, or even program or tune music has grown in the past several years. Some of these features, called infotainment systems, operate by voice command while others require manual operation. In either case, the systems have been found to dramatically increase accident risk due to the level of distraction they provide to the driver.
One AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study evaluated 40 infotainment systems and found 17 to require a very high demand from drivers. Another 12 required high demand and the remaining 11 moderate. AAA indicates only systems with low demand are truly safe.
Another AAA study looked at the impact of infotainment systems on drivers between 55 and 75 and found they were distracted as much as eight seconds longer than drivers between 21 and 36. With the baby boom generation representing a large percentage of drivers, this data is alarming indeed. Study participants were asked to program navigation or music, make calls or send text messages either by touch or voice. Drivers were found to be distracted anywhere from 22.4 to 40 seconds for a single task. A two-second distraction doubles a driver’s risk of getting into an accident.
If you would like to learn more about the safety of many new vehicle features and how to pursue appropriate assistance after being involved in an accident caused by a driver distracted by these features, please feel free to visit the distracted driving compensation page of our motor vehicle accident website.