Science

Infotainment Systems Growing Complex, Putting Drivers Lives At Risk

Infotainment Systems Growing Complex, Putting Drivers Lives At Risk

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. That's the same amount of time it would take to travel the length of four football fields while driving at 25 miles per hour, which is too much time and too much distance traveled without proper focus on the road.

These systems allow drivers to email, text and use social media, and can contain dozens of buttons on the steering wheel and across the dashboard.

The study found that 23 of the 30 different vehicles they tested required "high" or "very high" driver attention to use the technology. They correlated a low level of distraction to listening to the radio or an audiobook, while a very high level of demand would be equivalent to balancing a checkbook while driving.

"When an in-vehicle technology is not properly designed, simple tasks for drivers can become complicated and require more effort from drivers to complete", he said in an AAA news release.

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. The research consisted of 120 drivers between the ages of 21 and 36. This is far from the first study to point out the dangers of distracted driving, with infotainment systems being a point of focus.

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Drivers were most distracted while trying to program navigation - a task that took an average of 40 seconds for drivers to complete.

Creature comforts inside automobiles are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with a larger emphasis placed on the infotainment system.

Now some automakers already ban some features from being used when the vehicle is moving. In 2015, however, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded that 3,477 people were killed and around 391,000 were injured in motor vehicles because of distracted drivers.

"I rented a vehicle just recently", University of Utah researcher David Strayer recently told this news outlet.

"We're putting more and more technology in the auto that just does not mix with driving", Strayer said. The Center was created in 2013 with the goal of studying the safety implications for how drivers interact with new vehicle technologies when behind the wheel.