Vehicle Infotainment Systems Adding To Distracted-Driving Problem, AAA Says

Vehicle Infotainment Systems Adding To Distracted-Driving Problem, AAA Says

New vehicle infotainment systems take drivers' eyes and attention off the road and their hands off the wheel for potentially dangerous periods of time, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.


A new study suggests that in-vehicle technology is increasing the risk of accidents.

New vehicle infotainment systems take drivers’ eyes and attention off the road and their hands off the wheel for potentially dangerous periods of time, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Drivers using in-vehicle technologies like voice-based and touch-screen features were visually and mentally distracted for more than 40 seconds when completing tasks such as programming navigation or sending a text message. Removing eyes from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk for a crash, according to previous research.

With one in three U.S. adults using infotainment systems while driving, AAA cautions that using these technologies while behind the wheel can have dangerous consequences.

AAA said it conducted the new research to help automakers and system designers improve the functionality of new infotainment systems and the demand they place on drivers.

“While infotainment system design has improved in some cases, automakers have added too many functions unrelated to the core focus of driving,” said Theresa Podguski, director of legislative affairs for AAA East Central.  “Motorists should be aware that although these technologies are installed in a vehicle, it does not mean they are safe to use while driving.”

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety commissioned researchers from the University of Utah to examine the visual (eyes off road) and cognitive (mental) demand as well as the time it took drivers to complete a task using the infotainment systems in 30 new 2017 vehicles. Study participants were required to use voice command, touch screen and other interactive technologies to make a call, send a text message, tune the radio or program navigation, all while driving down the road.

Researchers developed an advanced rating scale to measure the visual (eyes off road) and cognitive (mental) demands and the time it took to complete a task experienced by drivers using each vehicle’s infotainment system. The scale ranged from low to very high levels of demand.

A low level of demand equates to listening to the radio or an audiobook, while very high demand is equivalent to trying to balance a checkbook while driving. AAA believes a safe in-vehicle technology system should not exceed a low level of demand.

Navigation: The Most Distracting Task

Programming navigation was the most distracting task, taking an average of 40 seconds for drivers to complete. When driving at 25 mph, a driver can travel the length of four football fields during the time it could take to enter a destination in navigation – all while distracted from the important task of driving. Programming navigation while driving was available in 12 of the 30 vehicle systems tested.

None of the 30 vehicle infotainment systems produced low demand, while 23 systems generated high or very high levels of demand on drivers:

“We are sharing this research to help automakers improve the designs and functionality of new infotainments systems to keep drivers safe,” continued Podguski.

Frustration resulting from unsatisfactory use of these systems increases cognitive demand and increases the potential for distracted driving.  According to a new AAA public-opinion survey, nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults say that they want the new technology in their vehicle, but only 24 percent feel that the technology already works perfectly.

Moreover, researchers found that most infotainment systems tested could easily be made safer by simply following clearly stated federal recommendations such as locking out text messaging, social media and programming navigation while the car is in motion. In 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a set of voluntary safety guidelines advising automakers to block access to tasks when vehicles are not parked.

A total of 120 drivers ages 21-36 participated in the study of 30 new 2017 model-year vehicles.

Article courtesy BodyShop Business.

You May Also Like

Bendix Releases Technical Materials for ADAS Support

They are designed to help technicians properly set up, inspect, and diagnose several components integrated with ADAS.

The latest technical materials from Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC (Bendix) are designed to help technicians properly set up, inspect and diagnose several components integrated with advanced driver assistance technologies, including trailer antilock brakes, steering systems and forward-looking cameras.

“The safety systems on today’s commercial vehicles are more road-proven and effective in supporting safe drivers than ever,” said Nicole Oreskovic, Bendix vice president, sales and marketing. “They’re also more complex and interconnected, which means we need to thoroughly support the skilled people who keep them in top operating condition."

Continental Celebrates Expansion in South Carolina

The 90,000-square-foot-building has capacity for 350 employees and is designed and built for future expansion potential.

Dana to Participate in Easter Jeep Safari 2024

The event will take place in Moab, Utah, March 23-31.

MEMA Applauds EPA on Light- and Medium-Duty Emission Standards

MEMA says the EPA final rule includes an amended and more comprehensive analysis of technological alternatives.

ZF Aftermarket Releases 80 New Parts

The latest additions expand coverage to more than 5 million vehicles in operation.

Other Posts

Schaeffler Highlights ESG Progress in 2023 Sustainability Report

Schaeffler is currently focusing on seven key ESG goals in the implementation of its sustainability strategy.

Sun Auto Acquires Carrollton Complete Automotive

Sun Auto said the acquisition will help with its expansion across Texas.

NexaMotion Group Opens New Arch Auto Parts Store

The new store in Plainview, New York, is the company’s fourth location in Nassau County.

Bendix Surpasses Worker Safety Goals

Bendix says its Total Case Improvement Rate improved since 2022.