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The new distraction of auto industry touch-screens

The fact that distracted driving in Maryland is a high-risk activity is not new information. Typically, one thinks of people talking or texting on their smartphones when issues of distracted driving arise.

However, there are a multitude of ways in which one may become distracted while driving.

Infotainment touch-screens create distraction

Newer information as shared by USA Today, advises that the technology of vehicle touch-screens may be the new distraction of risk. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety studied 30 infotainment systems available in new cars.

Infotainment systems in vehicles are those that provide music, phone speak, radio, driving directions and more. All 30 systems produced significant distraction, but some were more distracting than others. There is a recommendation that car makers should design their infotainment systems to disable certain features when the vehicle is in motion, as a strategy to prevent the driver from seeking to use it at all, thereby eliminating any distraction from that feature.

Programming directions while driving enhances distraction

For instance, while hearing directions may be worthy, being able to program those directions into the system while driving may be a feature to disconnect when the car is in motion. It takes 40 seconds to program the directions. If traveling 50 miles per hour, a driver will have traveled a distance equal to that of eight football fields while trying to program in the directions. That may be a very dangerous amount of time to not have one’s eyes and mind fully on the roadway.

Less-than-perfect features usage adds to risk

According to AAA, more than 60 percent of adults polled want the infotainment screen in their cars, but less than one quarter felt that it worked properly. Some of the aspects of the systems are now overly complex, which can disrupt a driver’s ability to use it easily. Such features increase the cognitive demands, which then creates even more distraction.

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