Study: New 'infotainment' tech in vehicles increases distracted driving risk

Posted at 4:59 AM, Oct 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-05 08:31:26-04

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. 

The study found, for instance, that something as common as entering navigation information could distract a driver for as much as 40 seconds when using some of the latest car tech. That's long enough for a vehicle going 25 miles per hour to travel more than a quarter mile -- while the driver is preoccupied with their GPS.

With options for sending texts, surfing the internet and checking social media in some tech packages, the risks only go up from there. 

“Drivers want technology that is safe and easy to use, but many of the features added to infotainment systems today have resulted in overly complex and sometimes frustrating user experiences for drivers,” said Marshall Doney, AAA’s president and CEO.

The release said AAA has plans to meet with auto makers to discuss the concerns and find a safer way to handle the increase in vehicle tech. 

“Automakers should aim to reduce distractions by designing systems that are no more visually or mentally demanding than listening to the radio or an audiobook," said Doney. "And drivers should avoid the temptation to engage with these technologies, especially for non-driving tasks.”

Read more from the AAA study in the full report here