Advanced tech in new vehicles can lead to distracted drivers

Drivers in Indiana and across the nation can take advantage of the improved technology in vehicles in myriad ways. These advancements are meant to make the roads safer and give drivers peace of mind. Still, as with any improvements, there are always adjustments that must be made. For those who were concerned about distracted drivers, the infotainment systems that are in most new vehicles were designed to reduce the tendency and need for people to continually reach for their smartphone when behind the wheel. Even if it has done that, it has created a new batch of problems, especially for older drivers. This should be considered after motor vehicle accidents.

According to research from the AAA Foundation, the systems themselves are causing a distraction. Although their intent is to let drivers worry about driving, using them is worrisome. The driver often needs to remove his or her eyes from the road to operate it for minor tasks, like checking navigation or adjusting the radio.

This is a growing concern for older people who took as much as 8.5 seconds longer than younger people to use the systems. To come to its conclusions, AAA combined with the University of Utah and tested people in six 2018 model autos.

They checked to determine how much cognitive and visual attention was needed to operate the systems. The subjects ranged in ages from 21 to 36 for one group, and 55 and 75 for the other. Each was asked to use the technology for various functions, such as sending a text message, adjusting the radio, using the navigation system and making a call. They used touch screens and voice commands.

It was difficult for people to keep an eye on the road and use the technology. A red light was shined at them and with the demands to use the systems, only one-quarter saw it. Younger people tended to be faster at making calls, texting and in using the navigation by significant margins.

Despite the noble intent on the part of automakers to tamp down on drivers being distracted by a smartphone, the infotainment systems have been shown to equal the concern or even make it worse. When there is an auto accident, it can cause serious injuries and death. Because driving safety is paramount, knowing the risks with these systems is key. After a motor vehicle accident, it is important to know whether distracted drivers played a role.

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