Technology in new cars worsens driver distraction

Complicated 'infotainment' car increasing risk of road deaths

Complicated 'infotainment' car increasing risk of road deaths

Researchers then measured the visual (time with eyes off the road) and cognitive (mental distraction from driving) demands associated with each task, rating them on a scale of low to very high.

Strayer found that some vehicle infotainment systems are more distrating than others, and some are more hard to operate, but that they all divert a driver's attention.

Participants in the AAA study were required to use voice commands and touch screens to make calls, send text messages, tune the radio or program navigation while driving. At 25 miles per hour, that's enough time for a driver to travel the length of four football fields, a long distance to be distracted from the road.

Of the vehicles tested, none put what AAA considers low demand on the driver, while 11 earned a score of "high demand", and 12 scored "very high".

Distracted driving largely goes unreported because most of the drivers involved in the accident do not accept that they were distracted during the driving.

Marshall Doney, AAA's President and CEO said, "Drivers want technology that is safe and easy to use", but several features in the infotainment system can be complex and frustrate the driver.

"Automakers have worked for years to help drivers focus on the road", the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said in a statement to ABC News.

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The AAA spells out some of the hazards of distracting infotainment systems.

Hands-free technology doesn't mean risk free.

According to a new AAA public opinion survey, almost 70 percent of USA adults say they want the new technology in their vehicle, but only 24 percent feel that the technology already works perfectly.

AAA says that the infotainment systems should only be used for emergencies and driving related purposes. The worst culprits were navigation tasks, which distracted drivers for up to 40 seconds.

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

Almost 70 percent of US adults say they want the new technologies in their vehicles, but only 24 percent feel that the technology already works perfectly, according to an opinion survey conducted for AAA.

The knobs and buttons that were once ubiquitous in cars have given way to a touch screen that allows drivers to use social media, email, and text - but the technology can be complicated to use.

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