Danger Behind The Wheel: High Tech Distractions

Many new satnavs demand very high concentration levels from drivers

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

Advanced technology has added special safety features to many cars. However, these features can distract the driver, putting their lives at risk.

Of the 30 vehicle systems AAA studied, 23 required high or very high demand on drivers to operate.

Subaru's infotainment system uses a 6.2-inch touchscreen, though there's also a 7-inch, which still requires the driver to look away from the road.

The knobs and buttons that were once ubiquitous in cars have given way to a touch screen that allows drivers to use social media, email, and text - but the technology can be complicated to use.

New vehicle infotainment systems take drivers' eyes and attention off the road and hands off the wheel for potentially unsafe periods of time, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. However, the Chevrolet Equinox, Hyundai Santa Fe, Lincoln MKC, Ford F250 XLT and Toyota's Camry, Corolla and Sienna require only "moderate" driver demand. However, manufacturers still enable the navigation centers and infotainment options when the auto is on the move. "Drivers should only use these technologies for legitimate emergencies or urgent, driving related purposes". Further, the organization asks the automakers to deactivate the program navigation system for sending texts while driving. None of the systems generated "low" distraction, according to the researchers.

For so long, researchers have focused on how cellular phones facilitate a variety of distracted driving behaviors, such as texting and driving. In 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a set of voluntary safety guidelines advising automakers to block access to tasks when vehicles are not parked.

Automakers are now not sure which way they should go, Autotrader executive analyst Michelle Krebs tells LATimes. A new study now shows that vehicles themselves can be a distraction.

The organization said the results of the work might get vehicle companies to rethink how they build technology into cars. Strayer says the "explosion of technology" has made things worse.

Latest News