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Distracting Features in New Cars

December 18, 2017

Distracting Features in New Cars

As cars become more advanced, they contain numerous knobs, buttons, displays, and touch screens for drivers to use. Many of these features were designed to make drivers and passengers safer, but a recent study by AAA found that in many cases, they achieve the opposite effect. To use many of these features, drivers’ eyes and hands must come off the road and steering wheel, putting them at a greater risk of colliding with other vehicles, pedestrians, and stationary objects.

More Ways to be Distracted

AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety has been studying the impact of infotainment systems in vehicles since 2013. In its 2017 study, they found that certain vehicles have 50 different buttons and displays for drivers to use. Many of the vehicles studied had more buttons and displays than the control panel buttons found in vehicles made a decade ago. Today, vehicles have touch screens, displays on mirrors and windshields, writing pads, and 3D images to aid in navigation and other tasks. When study participants test drove each of the 2017 model year cars and trucks, they took their eyes and hands off the task of driving to use infotainment systems. Twenty-three of the 30 vehicles tested were deemed to demand a high level of attention from their drivers. The study found that programming a navigation system demands more driver attention than other tasks using the infotainment system.

Guidelines and Recommendations Govern New Vehicle Features

Due to pressure from the automotive industry, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issues voluntary guidelines, rather than laws, for auto makers to follow when developing vehicle infotainment systems. These guidelines were first published in 2012 and continue to steer system development. For example, it is recommended that auto makers program navigation systems to lock out input when vehicles are in motion. However, 12 of the 30 vehicles tested in the study allowed navigation input while driving. Despite NHTSA recommendations to prevent drivers from texting while their cars are in motion, 75 percent of the vehicles in the study failed to prevent this. AAA recommends that drivers only use infotainment systems for emergencies and driving-related purposes. When there is a passenger in the car, it is safer to have them handle any navigation and communication needs, rather than the driver.

Cherry Hill Car Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Advocate for Victims of Distracted Driving Accidents

A distracted driver is a dangerous driver. If you were injured in a collision with a distracted driver and you are now facing financial damages, you could be entitled to receive compensation. To learn more about your rights and options as a car accident victim, fill out our online form or call 856-414-0010 to schedule your initial consultation with a Cherry Hill car accident lawyer from DiTomaso Law. Our office is in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and we serve clients from South Jersey and the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area.

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