Infotainment systems increase risk of distracted driving

A recent study sponsored by AAA focused on increasing levels of driver distraction tied to newer motor vehicle infotainment systems. These systems are more and more common on West Virginia roadways. Researchers examined 30 systems installed in 2017 model cars and found that none of them required only low levels of demand on the drivers. Rather, seven systems made moderate demands, eleven made high demands and twelve made very high demands of drivers.

According to a co-author of the study, motor vehicle manufacturers are not prioritizing safety. They are including technologies that are not relevant to driving and function poorly. New technologies should be safer than the ones they replace, said the co-author. Drivers in the study ranged in age between 21 and 36 years old. They were told to use touch screens, make calls, send texts, use voice commands, program GPS or change the radio station while driving.

The study found that entering navigation information into the GPS was the most distracting activity for drivers. Texting while driving was the second most distracting task. Merely listening to the radio stole some attention from the driver. According to the study's co-author, drivers failed to heed stop signs, drove significantly under the speed limit and swerved completely outside of their traffic lanes.

While sending a text message or making use of GPS navigation systems, drivers were mentally and visually distracted from the task of driving for in excess of 40 seconds. For reference, research has shown that just two seconds of distraction may increase the risk of a car accident by double.

Distracted driving is a dangerous problem and causes crashes in West Virginia. People who are injured in car accidents might be entitled to recover for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses or other damages. A lawyer with experience in personal injury law may be able to help by gathering evidence, building a case for trial or negotiating a settlement with insurers.

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