Vehicle tech is distracting drivers for alarming amounts of time, study says

BUSINESS New cars are more distracting than ever 5 Oct 2017 5:30pm 4 minutes to read Distractions in new cars are a problem

A study published Thursday from AAA found vehicles with "infotainment" technologies like touch screens and voice command are increasing the distraction level for drivers and could lead to a higher risk of distracted driving crashes.

They completed the study in partnership with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, and found that even common touchscreen tasks distracted drivers for more than 24 seconds.

It was found that some new vehicle infotainment systems take drivers' eyes and attention off the road and hands off the wheel for potentially risky periods of time.

The study said programming a navigation system is the most distracting task - taking an average of 40 seconds. 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.

Researchers said that most infotainment systems tested could be made safer by following federal recommendations such as locking out text, social media, and navigation inputs while the vehicle is in motion.

Programming navigation while driving was available in 12 of the 30 vehicle systems tested.

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.

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Frustration resulting from unsatisfactory use of these systems increases cognitive demand and the potential for distracted driving.

"We welcome the innovation and technology into the vehicle". The worst culprits were navigation tasks, which distracted drivers for up to 40 seconds.

These new uses bring nothing in terms of safety for the driver. "Automakers agree that hands on the wheel and eyes on the road continue to be critical to safe driving", Wade Newton, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, told Chicago Tribune in an email.

Some automakers have already disabled certain infotainment features when the vehicle is in drive.

In the past, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has suggested that auto companies make some of the new infotainment technology only functional when a vehicle is in park.

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

A warning is out about the new high-tech gadgets in the cars we drive.

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