It’s no surprise to learn that infotainment systems cause driver distraction, but recent news from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed that the problem may be worse than we thought.
A study released by the organization showed that the majority of today’s infotainment technologies are complex, frustrating, and maybe even dangerous to use. Working with researchers from the University of Utah, AAA analyzed the systems in 30 vehicles, rating them on how much visual and cognitive demand they placed on drivers. The conclusion: None of the 30 produced low demand. Twenty-three of the systems generated “high” or “very high” demand.
“Removing eyes from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk for a crash,” AAA wrote in a press release. “With one in three adults using infotainment systems while driving, AAA cautions that using these technologies while behind the wheel can have dangerous consequences.”
In the study, University of Utah researchers examined visual (eyes-on-the-road) and cognitive (mental) demands of each system, and looked at the time required to complete tasks. Tasks included the use of voice commands and touch screens to make calls, send texts, tune the radio and program navigation. And the results were uniformly disappointing.
On the following pages, we offer a peek at the 12 vehicles categorized by researchers as having “very high demand” infotainment systems. The vehicles vary from entry-level to luxury and sedan to SUV, but they all share one common trait: AAA says their infotainment systems distract drivers.
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Senior technical editor Chuck Murray has been writing about technology for 33 years. He joined Design News in 1987, and has covered electronics, automation, fluid power, and auto.
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