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Vehicle infotainment systems still a danger to safe driving

If you drive a vehicle manufactured after 2016, you might enjoy some of the perks of a modern In-Vehicle Information System (IVIS), such as hands-free commands, GPS, side and rear cameras, navigation and mapping, a Bluetooth connection and streaming services for music, audiobooks, and more.

Recent research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAAFTS) reports that while hands-free interactions with an IVIS can help drivers stay focused on the task of driving, the intensive visual and cognitive requirements of modern IVIS systems still have a negative impact on driver safety.

In addition, many IVIS features were found to be unrelated to the tasks of driving and paying attention to the road.

The AAAFTS study found that using an infotainment system can result in:

  • Slowed driver reaction time
  • Missed visual cues
  • Lowered brain activity in the area used for safe driving
  • Reduced visual scanning of surroundings

“Some of the latest systems on the market now include functions unrelated to the core task of driving like sending text messages, checking social media or surfing the web — tasks we have no business doing behind the wheel,” says Marshall Doney, AAA’s president and CEO.

The AAAFTS research study is meant to help vehicle manufacturers improve the functionality of IVIS systems and reduce their complexity, with the goal of making interactions with the system as simple and distraction-free as possible.

The AAAFTS study also found that if auto manufacturers followed established federal safety guidelines, they could increase driver safety by disabling text messaging functionality, preventing internet surfing or social media access, and inputting navigation instructions while the car is moving.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) research showed that voice-command systems are less visually distracting to drivers than systems requiring visual and or manual interaction, while the safest system requires only one voice command, rather than multiple instructions.

IVIS systems can provide a false sense of security for drivers while boosting distractions that take their attention away from driving safely. These systems include hands-free and voice-command technology combined with functions that require a high level of driver interaction, such as using a navigation system or texting a friend.

“These are solvable problems. By following the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s voluntary guidelines to lock out certain features that generate high demand while driving, automakers can significantly reduce distraction,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of Traffic Safety Advocacy & Research.

Drivers with cars that have a modern IVIS system can easily make it safer to use by disabling dangerous and unnecessary in-vehicle functionality, such as shutting off texting capability, internet browsing, overly complex navigation systems, or anything else that affects the driver’s ability to paying attention to the road.

If you’ve received a ticket for a distracted driving violation or were injured in a car wreck involving a distracted driver, contact a local attorney in your state who can help you protect your rights or determine if you have a case.

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