When it comes to increasing safety on the roads, many vehicle manufacturers today are touting the benefits of special features being included in the models rolling off the production lines. Many of these features are fueled by modern technology, such as automatic braking systems designed to help avoid collisions. Other systems offer people a hands-free way to manage music, navigation and more while driving. These systems, however, may be more dangerous than most people realize.
A study led by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reviewed many infotainment systems and found that all created an unsafe level of distraction on drivers. Out of the 40 systems reviewed, 17 required very high demand of drivers and 12 required high demand. The remaining 11 placed moderate demand on drivers. Only a low level of demand meets AAA’s criteria for safety.
A report by CBS News highlights that the distraction caused by in-vehicle infotainment systems is only one of the problems. When touchscreen operations do not work smoothly or when voice commands are misunderstood, drivers can become extremely frustrated. This appears to be an especially significant problem among baby boomers. The level of distraction these older drivers face when attempting to use infotainment systems can be up to eight times greater than the level of distraction faced by a younger driver.
The AAA study identified the act of entering an address to receive driving directions as the most distracting action conducted with the infotainment systems. Using navigation while driving is something commonly done by many drivers today, raising serious concerns for safety on the roads.