MINNEAPOLIS -- A new AAA Foundation study reveals how new vehicle infotainment systems have the potential to distract drivers for a dangerous amount of time.
According to AAA, one in three adults in the U.S. use infotainment systems while driving.
"Just because this technology is available in your car, does not mean that it's safe to use while driving. In fact, we've found that it's very much so distracting," said Madisun VanGundy, community outreach coordinator for AAA Minneapolis.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, along with researchers at the University of Utah, studied 120 drivers using the in-vehicle technology in 2017 models. Out of the 30 vehicles tested, 23 demanded high or very high driver attention to use the technology. None of the vehicles tested produced low demand.
Drivers involved in the study were asked to use voice command, touch screen and more to make a call, send a text message, tune the radio or program navigation while driving.
"It seems like the manufacturers of vehicles keep putting more and more things into cars. I mean, some cars even have... portable Wi-Fi. It's like, oh my gosh, that's great if you're stopped and in park," said Mike Torkelson, AAA Minneapolis Driving School instructor.
The study found that programming navigation was the most distracting, taking an average of 40 seconds for drivers to complete.
AAA hopes to work with automakers on ways to ease up on distractions. Researchers found that most of the systems could be made safer by locking out text messaging, social media and programming navigation while the car is moving.
"Our studies show that it's taking up a lot of people's time and energy and so what we recommend is if you're going to use your infotainment system, only use it in absolute emergencies. Or if anything, program everything before you hit the road, before you start driving. Don't be messing with it while you're on the road," VanGundy said.
AAA has vehicle reports available for each vehicle's information system that was evaluated. You can view them, here.
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