Vehicle infotainment systems and smartphones distract drivers

Newer vehicles in New Jersey often contain infotainment systems that enable telephone calls, text messages, navigation and media consumption. These systems also tie into people’s smartphones when they want to manage their media through their mobile devices. According to researchers, all of this technology adds up to substantial distractions for drivers. The results of one small research study indicate that the poorly designed systems built into vehicles might be more distracting than smartphones.

University researchers working for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety studied 64 drivers in five different vehicles. They observed them while they used vehicle infotainment systems or the smartphone applications Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. They concluded that the smartphone apps, although distracting, demanded less attention from drivers than the onboard systems. The navigation and media systems inside the vehicles consumed drivers’ attention at even higher levels than the phones. These findings suggest that automakers need to make a better effort to design systems that limit driver distraction.

Driver distraction produces serious consequences. An analysis by a company that equips commercial fleets with in-cab camera monitoring systems calculated that 67 percent of severe accidents within its study resulted from distracted drivers. The U.S. Department of Transportation has determined that annual fatal car accidents have increased by over 10 percent since 2014.

When distracted drivers cause motor vehicle accidents, crash victims might hold them responsible for financial damages. A person coping with serious injuries might want the support of an attorney when making a personal injury claim. Legal counsel could handle collecting evidence and communicating with an insurance company as these tasks might be burdensome to someone recuperating from injuries. This effort might include filing a lawsuit if the negligent party resists paying compensation to cover the victim’s lost income and medical expenses.

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