Personal Injury

AAA Study: Infotainment Systems Promote Driver Distraction

distracted driving photo by 445th Airlift Wing Air Force 315x210 AAA Study: Infotainment Systems Promote Driver DistractionInteractive touch-screen dashboard displays in motor vehicles are incredibly useful tools, but they can also be the main cause of deadly distraction.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that the infotainment systems are contributing to the ever-growing number of traffic accidents caused by driver distraction. Drivers using in-vehicle technologies like voice-based and touch-screen features were visually and mentally distracted for more than 40 seconds while programming navigation, pulling up a song, sending a text message, and other tasks.

Forty seconds of distraction behind the wheel is incredibly dangerous. Previous research has determined that just two seconds of driver distraction doubles the risk of a crash.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of deadly crashes involving driver distraction jumped 8.8 percent to 3,477 in 2015, the latest year in which statistics were available.

Because a third of all U.S. adults use infotainment systems while driving, AAA set out to determine whether some of the systems were more distracting than others.

“Some in-vehicle technology can create unsafe situations for drivers on the road by increasing the time they spend with their eyes and attention off the road and hands off the wheel,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “When an in-vehicle technology is not properly designed, simple tasks for drivers can become complicated and require more effort from drivers to complete.”

The AAA Foundation commissioned researchers from the University of Utah to assess the infotainment systems in 30 new 2017 vehicles for visual (eyes off road) and cognitive (mental) demand as well as the time it took drivers to complete a task.

Study participants were required to use voice command, touchscreen, and other interactive technologies to make a call, send a text message, tune the radio, or program navigation, all while driving down the road.

Incredibly, none of the systems tested were low-demand. On the contrary, most of the systems required high or very high levels of demand on drivers. Only seven of the systems demanded a moderate level of driver attention.

The most distracting infotainment systems, ranked as “very high,” were in the following vehicles:

  • Audi Q7 QPP
  • Chrysler 300 C
  • Dodge Durango GT
  • Ford Mustang GT
  • GMC Yukon SLT
  • Honda Civic Touring
  • Honda Ridgeline RTL-E
  • Mazda3 Touring
  • Nissan Armada SV
  • Subaru Crosstrek Premium
  • Tesla Model S
  • Volvo XC60 T5 Inscription

The second-most distracting systems, ranked in the “high” category, were in the following vehicles:

  • Cadillac XT5 Luxury
  • Chevrolet Traverse LT
  • Dodge Ram 1500
  • Ford Fusion Titanium
  • Hyundai Sonata Base
  • Infiniti Q50 Premium
  • Jeep Compass Sport
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited
  • Kia Sorento LX
  • Nissan Maxima SV
  • Toyota Rav 4 XLE

The third-most distracting systems, ranked in the “moderate” category,” were in the following models:

  • Chevrolet Equinox  LT
  • Ford F250 XLT
  • Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
  • Lincoln MKC Premiere
  • Toyota Camry SE
  • Toyota Corolla SE
  • Toyota Sienna XLE