As vehicle technology becomes more advanced, automakers add increasingly complex bells and whistles to the information and entertainment systems in cars. While dashboards used to have just a few simple features, they are now often equipped with the technology for social media, texting, navigation, and email.
Many analysts say having a few knobs and dials to adjust the temperature or tune the radio are OK, but they say interactive systems are getting more complicated, causing drivers to pay more attention to their technology and less attention to the road. The result is increased risk of serious accidents for everyone.
A recent study from AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that using integrated infotainment systems requires drivers to take their eyes off the road for unsafe amounts of time. The study, using 30 different 2017-model cars and trucks, showed that drivers in every single car took their hands off the wheel or their eyes off the road while using in-car infotainment. The most distracting task was using the car's navigation system; the second, texting.
Based on previous research, experts conclude removing your eyes from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk of a car crash. In the AAA study, drivers took an average of 40 seconds to program navigation into their vehicles.
You might wonder why the auto industry doesn't do more to mitigate this problem. The reason, AAA researchers say, is it's not required. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has laid out guidelines for dashboard tech, but they are voluntary. The guidelines encourage automakers to lock out drivers' ability to text or navigate while the car is moving. Only 60 percent of the vehicles require users to be at rest when programming coordinates. Seventy-five percent of them allow texting while driving.
It seems safe to assume that as long as technology is at hand, distracted driving will result in accidents that cause devastating personal injury and death. Victims of car accidents caused by distracted driving have legal options regarding recovery of compensation they might not be aware of. To learn what you need to know, contact a skilled attorney.