Phones Aren't the Only Things Distracting Drivers

The growing prevalence of "infotainment" technology in new vehicles is creating more distractions for drivers, according to new research from the American Automobile Association (AAA). 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. It wants automakers to work more on making screen-based systems quicker and more intuitive to use, with navigation programming and texting on vehicle screens both disabled while in movement.

Programming navigation while driving was available in 12 of the 30 vehicle systems tested.

"It's adding more and more layers of complexity and information at drivers' fingertips without often considering whether it's a good idea to put it at their fingertips", University of Utah professor David Strayer said. "When an in-vehicle technology is not properly designed, simple tasks for drivers can become complicated and require more effort from drivers to complete". 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".

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Carmakers have been pushing the envelope year after year and with technology becoming so advanced and intuitive, it seems only natural that the way cars work and support drivers should undergo a huge change.

Distracted driving claimed 3,477 lives in 2015 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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

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

With options for sending texts, surfing the internet and checking social media in some tech packages, the risks only go up from there. In response, some have called for automakers to allow drivers to disable certain infotainment controls while the vehicle is running.

NY state's Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, told the Associated Press in July that the state is testing technology that will allow police to identify drivers who are texting and driving. The latest report is the fifth phase of distraction research from AAA's Center for Driving Safety and Technology.

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  • Israel Montgomery