Researchers at the University of Utah stepped into over 30 new cars to measure how much time a driver spends looking at their screens, not the road.
Drivers that used systems' voice commands and touch screens to program GPS were distracted for an average of about 40 seconds, according to the research. At 25 miles per hour, that's enough time for a driver to travel the length of four football fields, a long distance to be distracted from 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.
The study found that 23 of the 30 different vehicles they tested required "high" or "very high" driver attention to use the technology.
Previous AAA research indicates one in three USA adults use infotainment systems while driving.
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.
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The auto industry says the new systems are better alternatives for drivers than mobile phones and navigation devices that were not created to be used while driving. AAA believes a safe in-vehicle technology system should not exceed a low level of demand. He's been examining the impact of infotainment systems on safety since 2013.
The AAA called out 30 vehicles in which technology can be particularly risky. Texting was the second-most distracting task performed by test drivers.
"Some of the latest systems on the market now include functions unrelated to the core task of driving like sending text messages, checking social media or surfing the web - tasks we have no business doing behind the wheel", continued Moody. "By following NHTSA's voluntary guidelines to lock out certain features that generate high demand while driving, automakers can significantly reduce distraction", said Amy Stracke, Managing Director, Traffic Safety Advocacy for AAA - The Auto Club Group. Automakers should also design infotainment systems so that they require no more attention to use than listening to the radio or an audiobook, it said.
The CDC says it's not just your cell phone, it's anything that takes your eyes off the wheel.
"I rented a vehicle just recently", University of Utah researcher David Strayer recently told this news outlet.
Carmakers are cramming more and more technology into our cars-including the ones we still have to drive.