AAA links infotainment systems with distracted driving

It may seem obvious to drivers in Ohio that doing anything that takes their attention off the road will put them at risk for accidents. Previous research has even measured that risk, saying it can double when one's eyes are off the road for 2 seconds. However, many are drawn to new vehicle tech like infotainment systems and thus find themselves being distracted on the road. A recent study released by AAA shows just how distracting their features can be.

For the study, researchers at the University of Utah had drivers aged 21 to 36 drive in 30 new 2017 vehicles and use the infotainment systems at the same time. These vehicles are from automakers like Ford, Dodge, Toyota, Hyundai, Tesla and Audi. Drivers began to act negligently, sometimes swerving out of their lanes and sometimes ignoring stop signs or driving far below the speed limit.

The most distracting features were the GPS and texting features. Participants were mentally and visually distracted for more than 40 seconds when using either feature. Using voice commands and even listening to the radio can constitute a distraction, though at lower levels.

Another AAA survey shows that 70 percent of U.S. adults want new vehicle tech; however, 24 percent are concerned over the tech not working perfectly. Not all systems are fully tested, and some systems confuse drivers with complicated dashboards.

A distracted driver will be considered at fault for any motor vehicle accident that they cause. Someone who is injured through little or no fault of their own can consult with an attorney about filing a claim against the distracted driver's insurance company. If there is plenty of strong evidence, and if the lawyer is a good negotiator, the victim may be able to reach an out-of-court settlement. As a last resort, however, a victim can always litigate.

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