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Infotainment, GPS systems lead to distracted driving

We usually associate distracted driving with texting and talking on the phone. However, a recent study of 30 new model cars found that the elaborate bells and whistles common in 2017 vehicles can be dangerously distracting.

GPS and infotainment systems, even those with voice commands, can take drivers' eyes and concentration off the road. Researchers from the University of Utah and the Automobile Association of America (AAA) recently staged a demonstration using a 2017 Mazda3 Touring in a parking lot to show how long it took drivers to figure out the vehicle's infotainment center.

As one AAA official noted, "One of the things the industry has done when developing these in-vehicle infotainment systems is claim that 'We have created technology that allows you to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.' And while in some ways the technology allows you to do that some of the time, none of the 30 vehicles that we tested allow you to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road the whole time."

Even programming your destination into a GPS navigation system can be risky if you try to do it while you're driving. The study found that even relatively young drivers (between 21 and 36) traveled a significant distance in the time it took them to program their GPS.

Another study found that even when a system operated on voice commands, drivers "have to, in every case, at some point, reach or look and manipulate the controls in the dash." Voice-activated telephone dialing was found to take over two minutes. Dialing by name was even more complicated.

The researchers say that the safety hazards of these systems could be reduced if automakers disabled some of these technological enhancements, such as programming the navigation system, while a vehicle is in motion. However, fewer than half of the vehicles tested had that feature.

In lieu of that, they recommend that drivers set their GPS and their music choices before they start their trip. Of course, having everything from Facebook to hundreds of satellite radio channels at your fingertips can still cause potentially dangerous distracted driving.

If you are involved in a car accident that was the fault of another driver, it is important to determine if that driver was distracted. Your Louisiana personal injury attorney can provide guidance and work to seek the compensation you need.

Source: WTOP, "Your car can now cause distracted driving," Max Smith, Oct. 05, 2017

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