In-vehicle technology could cause increase in distracted driving

Distracted driving is on the rise across the country, and may be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The most egregious cause of distracted driving is often your cell phone. But a growing cause of distraction is a part of the car itself.

In-vehicle infotainment systems are designed to help you avoid having to use your cell phone while behind the wheel. Touch and voice features help you make calls, navigate roads, send texts, play music and even read emails. But a recent study by AAA suggests that these in-vehicle technologies may be just as distracting for drivers.

Infotainment systems are gaining popularity

As vehicles get more technologically advanced, in-vehicle technologies are growing more prevalent. In fact, AAA notes that almost 70 percent of adults want these new technologies in their vehicles.

Currently, approximately a third of U.S. adults are using infotainment systems while they drive. These systems have a variety of functions – from texting and email capabilities to navigation and music.

The dangers of in-vehicle technology

As infotainment systems are gaining more features, they are becoming even more frustrating to use while driving. When the software is difficult to understand, even simple tasks can distract drivers for more than 40 seconds. And the more frustrated the user is, the more distracted they may become.

AAA found that inputting navigation was the most distracting for drivers, taking 40 seconds on average to complete. At a rate of 25 mph, you could drive across four football fields before you are finished entering a destination.

During this time, you would be splitting your focus between the road and the infotainment system, increasing your risk for getting in an auto accident.

Vehicles are becoming safer, but emerging technologies are becoming more distracting for drivers. In a world where more and more drivers are demanding these technologies, we may need to find a way to balance innovation with safety on the road.