In-car technology may increase distracted driving, AAA study says

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - According to a new AAA study, dashboard display screens are becoming a dangerous distraction to many drivers. But is this innovation of in-car gadgets luring drivers into taking their eyes off the road?    

AAA's study found that when drivers take their eyes off the road for just two seconds, they're doubling their risk of getting into an accident. 

In-car functions, like tuning the radio, making a call through Bluetooth, and setting up GPS navigation, are designed to make things easier in newer cars.

"It's definitely not good for people on the roads, especially more and more cars are on the road," Eric Smith is a AAA driving instructor. He sees firsthand how drivers can get distracted behind the wheel. 

"People are driving more aggressively so having those distractions added on to that make it even worse," Smith said.

The study shows drivers using in-vehicle technology features experience very high levels of visual and mental distractions for more than 40 seconds. To put it in perspective, when driving at 25 mph a driver can travel the length of four football fields during the time it could take to enter a destination in your GPS.

"It's a win, lose situation," Steve Durgo, sales manager at Ontario Honda in Canandaigua said. "I do think there is room for distraction. I definitely think if people aren't familiar with what they're using, I think that people would be like, "Oh it's vibrating, what's going on?" and you're looking around.

Durgo says the in-car technology is almost like taking one step forward and two steps back. 

"It is a bi-product of people doing a lot of things behind the wheel that could be very unsafe," Durgo said. "You're almost using the technology in an unsafe manner for which it was never intended."

With technology always changing, AAA says it's up to the driver to be aware on the road and not distracted by technology. 

AAA says they conducted the study to help automakers and system designers improve the functions on newer cars and make them more aware of the demand they place on drivers.


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