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Automobile : the driver distracted by the high-tech ?
07 October 2017, 12:20 | Shelley Chandler
Many new satnavs demand very high concentration levels from drivers
A new study from AAA found new vehicle "infotainment" systems in cars, the digital control panels built into the dashboard, can be as distracting or more than texting.
Numerous infotainment features in most 2017 vehicles are so distracting they should not be enabled while a vehicle is in motion, according to a new study released Thursday by University of Utah researchers.
While previous research has shown that taking your eyes off the road for as little as two seconds doubles the risk of a crash, AAA found that entering a new destination into the navigation system could take drivers more than 40 seconds. They also tested how long it takes drivers to complete tasks like calling someone, sending a text, and programming navigation while driving. When driving at 25 miles per hour, a driver can travel the length of four football fields during the same amount of time.
A new car's "infotainment" screen that allows you to send text messages and navigate with Global Positioning System may have been a big selling point. It focused on the infotainment systems of 30 vehicles, each ranked by the level of distraction-low, moderate, high, and very high-be it visual, cognitive, or both.
"Drivers want technology that is safe and easy to use", said Marshall Doney, AAA's president and CEO, "but numerous features added to infotainment systems today have resulted in overly complex and sometimes frustrating user experiences for drivers". The frustration that comes when it doesn't work like it is supposed to, well that is distracting to a driver as well.
Fatal crashes are on the rise in the US, and distracted driving is a major reason for the increase, the foundation believes.
These new uses bring nothing in terms of safety for the driver.
"So what we hope is that our research will be used by consumers to help make a good decision about what vehicles and what technology in the vehicles is best for them", he said. Automakers should also design infotainment systems so that they require no more attention to use than listening to the radio or an audiobook, it said.
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.
"We're putting more and more technology in the vehicle that just does not mix with driving", Strayer said.
New in-car technology systems are "too distracting" despite being created to curtail the use of handheld mobile devices while driving, the American Automobile Association found in a new report.
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