Another study shows that in-car infotainment is highly distracting

A study says that in-car infotainment systems are more distracting than similar smartphone systems.

Many drivers assume that most of their vehicles' features are built with safety foremost in mind. That assumption often applies to in-car infotainment systems, which are sometimes even marketed as vehicle safety features. However, as Wired reports, a number of studies have shown that not only are these safety claims highly dubious, but that infotainment systems are actually highly distracting. Given the high rate of motor vehicle accidents in recent years, concerns have been raised that the race by car manufacturers to add infotainment and automated features could be making the distracted driving problem worse.

Distracted by infotainment

The most recent study was conducted by University of Utah researchers on behalf of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Researchers analyzed how distracting five different in-car infotainment systems were compared with Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto. CarPlay and Android Auto are connected to cars' built-in interface but the software is run off of the users' phones.

The study found that all of the systems, including both the built-in infotainment systems and the smartphone ones, were dangerously distracting for drivers. However, the built-in ones all scored worse than the smartphone systems. Every in-car infotainment system was ranked as demanding high or very high levels of attention from drivers. CarPlay and Android Auto, on the other hand, were ranked as requiring moderately high levels of attention from drivers.

No distraction is safe

The differences between the in-car infotainment systems and the smartphone ones at first glance seem to be relatively small. For example, as Forbes points out, the study found that making a call using the smartphones' systems took an average of just five seconds less than making a call using a built-in system. When it comes to driving, those five seconds make a huge difference, however. Every two seconds a driver takes their eyes off the road doubles their risk of a crash.

Distracted driving is estimated to be responsible for about 390,000 injuries and 3,500 deaths each year. It is also believed to be one of the main factors behind the rapid rise in traffic fatalities nationwide in recent years. Since 2014, traffic deaths across the U.S. have risen by 10 percent, despite a slight dip last year in fatalities.

Personal injury law

Anybody who has been hurt in a crash should get in touch with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. A crash can have devastating physical, emotional, and financial consequences. With an attorney on one's side, accident victims will have a better chance of receiving the compensation they may ultimately be entitled to, especially if their crash was caused by another driver's negligence or recklessness.