February 22, 2018

Dashboard technology creating more distractions for drivers

07 October 2017, 12:20 | Camille Rivera

Many new satnavs demand very high concentration levels from drivers Credit Telegraph

Many new satnavs demand very high concentration levels from drivers

A study conducted by the foundation for The Road Safety of Automobile Association of American (American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety) on these new in-vehicle technologies would show that they can be risky.

None of the 30 vehicle infotainment systems produced low demand and many of them offered features unrelated to the core task of driving.

New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that drivers using in-vehicle technologies - like voice-activated and touch-screen features - were visually and mentally distracted for more than 40 seconds. At 25 miles per hour, a vehicle can travel the length of four football fields during the time it takes to enter a destination. This tech, often in the form of complicated "infotainment" systems, gives drivers the ability to take calls, send texts, navigate, and choose what to listen to through a screen on the dashboard. AAA found that a dozen of the 30 vehicles tested had systems that required high demand from drivers. Armed with touchscreen and voice-based technologies, researchers pegged the Audi Q7 as having a "very high" level of distraction. Marshall Doney, it's President and CEO, told CNBC: "Drivers want technology that is safe and easy to use, but numerous features added to infotainment systems today have resulted in overly complex and sometimes frustrating user experiences for drivers". "Drivers should only use these technologies for legitimate emergencies or urgent, driving related purposes". This is far from the first study to point out the dangers of distracted driving, with infotainment systems being a point of focus.

Even hands-free technology, which is meant to be safer, can create mental and visual distractions for the driver, the study found.

The study suggests automakers could ultimately limit access to certain highly distracting technology when the vehicle is in motion.

Programming navigation was the most distracting task, taking an average of 40 seconds for drivers to complete.

These new uses bring nothing in terms of safety for the driver.

The guidelines also recommend automakers prevent drivers from texting while driving, but three-quarters of the vehicles tested permit drivers to text while the auto is moving.

"This is troublesome because motorists may assume that features that are enabled when they are driving are safe and easy to use", said David Strayer, a cognitive and neural scientist at the University of Utah, in a statement.

Carmakers are cramming more and more technology into our cars-including the ones we still have to drive. The latest report is the fifth phase of distraction research from AAA's Center for Driving Safety and Technology.

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