CHICAGO (October 5, 2017) – A new study released Thursday by AAA claims the new technology automakers are cramming into vehicle dashboards is causing drivers to take their hands off the wheel and eyes off the road for dangerously long periods of time.
While distracted driving can take many forms, technology has made the dangerous habit of distracted driving even more widespread. The AAA study says an “explosion of technology” has given drivers more ways to access social media, email and texting while behind the wheel.
Additionally, the technology is becoming increasingly complicated to use. Experts say automakers have not effectively made the systems quick and easy to use. For example, cars used to just have a few buttons and knobs. But today, they have touch screens which can be difficult to use, voice commands, writing pads, and many other advanced features. Thus, diverting drivers’ attention away from the road for longer than is intended.
In contrast, automakers say these new systems are better alternatives to cell phones and GPS devices that were not designed to be used while driving. A spokesperson from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers told ABC News, “these systems are designed to be used in the driving environment and require driver attention that is comparable to tuning the radio or adjusting climate controls.”
To test that theory, AAA had drivers test drive all 30 of the 2017 model cars while also attempting to navigate the various technology features. The test included using voice commands, touch screens and other interactive technologies to make calls, send texts, tune the radio or program navigation all while driving. The result? The test drivers all took their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel while using the various systems.
Not surprisingly, researchers found that plugging an address into GPS navigation systems was the most distracting activity, taking drivers an average of 40 seconds to complete. In that amount time, a car traveling at just 25 mph could travel the length of four football fields! Previous research has shown that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds more than doubles your chance of being involved in a crash.
AAA’s researchers also found drivers looked away from the road the least when using voice commands. However, the safety benefit of using the voice controls was offset by the increased amount of time drivers spent interacting with the systems.
AAA recommends drivers only use these systems in emergencies and has asked automakers to block the ability to program a navigation system while driving.
As a personal injury law firm, we see the tragic results of distracted driving on a regular basis. The attorneys at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard are passionate about ending the deadly habit of distracted driving. Earlier this week, associate attorney Brian L. Salvi gave a presentation on some ways to avoid distracted driving and other dangerous habits while behind the wheel to drivers ed students at St. Rita of Cascia High School. The speech was part of Salvi Law’s partnership with “End Distracted Driving.” To help get through to the students, Mr. Salvi created a Snapchat filter for students to use to share the firm’s safety message with their family and friends.
Our attorneys have years of experience representing drivers and passengers who were injured as a result of distracted driving. Our clients know they can trust us with their case while they focus on getting better. If you or loved one was injured due to the negligence of a distracted driver, call our office for a free evaluation of your case.