Science

How Car Technology May Lead to More Accidents

How Car Technology May Lead to More Accidents

New so-called "infotainment" systems in cars may distract drivers for "potentially risky periods of time", AAA said in a study released today.

The study done by AAA finds that technology built into the dashboards of many cars is taking drivers' eyes and attention off the road and their hands off the wheel for potentially unsafe periods of time. "When in-vehicle technology is not properly designed, simple tasks for drivers can become complicated and require more effort from drivers to complete". AAA found that a dozen of the 30 vehicles tested had systems that required high demand from drivers.

The biggest problem was programming navigation, something the study suggested could take as long as 40 seconds. At 25 miles per hour, that means a driver could be going the distance of four football fields while completely distracted from the road.

Last week the UK Government published statistics on road deaths in 2016 which revealed that deaths from crashes resulting from in-vehicle distractions had risen 39 per cent on the previous year to 140.

Frustration resulting from unsatisfactory use of these systems increases cognitive demand and the potential for distracted driving. "And drivers should avoid the temptation to engage with these technologies, especially for non-driving tasks".

The study staff then combined objective information such as the time spent on each task with subjective ratings of how distracted the drivers felt to produce a ranking for each vehicle on the overall level of distraction. A low level of demand equates to listening to the radio or an audiobook, while very high demand is equivalent to trying to balance a checkbook while driving. The technology is typically presented as a safer alternative to using a phone while driving. Programming navigation and sending a text message.

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Under pressure from the industry, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2012 issued voluntary safety guidelines to automakers for dashboard technology instead of enforceable safety standards.

Some automakers have already disabled certain infotainment features when the vehicle is in drive.

AAA said drivers should use infotainment technologies "only for legitimate emergencies or urgent, driving-related purposes".

It was found that some new vehicle infotainment systems take drivers' eyes and attention off the road and hands off the wheel for potentially risky periods of time.

"I rented a auto just recently", University of Utah researcher David Strayer recently told this news outlet.

The rise of "infotainment" #Technology in cars has caused a professor to raise concern about the distraction the newest cars are providing for drivers.