Technology has greatly changed our lives. Automobiles are designed with advanced technology to make our drive easier and more entertaining. With those benefits come risks if certain features are used by a driver while driving. University of Utah researchers conducted a recent study for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and found most infotainment systems in 2017 vehicles are distracting to the point they should not be enabled while the vehicle is in motion.
Infotainment systems vary from manufacturer but generally provide audio or video entertainment and more. Many cars rely on a touch screen for radio commands, navigation or to make phone calls through the vehicle's speakers. While the systems are designed to be user-friendly and carry a perception of safety, the study found it took a driver an average of 40 seconds to complete the task of programming navigation. Not all the vehicles tested allowed the driver to program navigation while the vehicle was in motion.
Voice-based features do not eliminate the danger of distracted driving
Even voice-based features distracted drivers for more than 24 seconds. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration previously conducted research finding a driver only needs to take his or her eyes off the road for two seconds to double their risk of a crash. AAA found many of the tested systems required high or very high levels of attention. Their scale equates this type of attention to "trying to balance a checkbook while driving".
Distracted driving is prevalent among new drivers with less experience on the road. Teenagers represent the largest age group of distracted drivers at the time of fatalities. Some distractions like eating while driving, looking after children or rubbernecking have long been causes of collisions. Adding these new technology distractions increases everyone's risk while on the road.
While laws have been created to address the dangers of texting while driving, there are currently no regulations on using infotainment systems while behind the wheel. Distracted driving accounts for many motor vehicle accidents each year, including thousands of serious injuries and fatalities.
If you or someone you know has been injured by the actions of a distracted driver, please contact the attorneys of Tracey & Fox. Our attorneys fight on behalf of the injured and hold those responsible accountable.