Car Infotainment Systems Distracting Drivers

Posted on behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak

on December 17, 2015

. Updated on March 23, 2022


driver distractionsSince distracted driving has increasingly come under fire from safety advocates, many drivers have turned to voice commands connected to “car infotainment systems” to make a call, send a text, get directions and even control the music in their cars.

“Car infotainment system” is a generic term for a variety of devices used to control different aspects of a car’s interior including navigation, music and vehicle maintenance data. In some models they also connect to movie or video game displays for back seat passengers.

Most devices have a touch-screen panel with multiple menus. Hands-free voice commands are also common with these newer cars, with the belief that they are safer for drivers.

However, according to a recent study of participants age 21-70 with good driving records, these car infotainment systems and hands-free commands are highly distracting. It takes a driver up to 27 seconds to return their full attention back to the road. Driving at just 25 miles per hour, that’s the length of three football fields.

Though many drivers think they’ve used these systems and voice commands enough to use them responsibly, the study found that practice didn’t necessarily help minimize the distractions.

Researchers also found that older drivers took longer to bring their attention back to the road than younger drivers.

Another issue with car infotainment systems and voice commands is that when they malfunction or don’t work properly, drivers spend time trying to diagnose and fix the problem, further distracting them from the road and potentially, increasing the chances of injuring others in the event of a collision.

Interestingly, it was also found that Google Now voice commands were slightly less distracting than Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana.

In an interview, David Strayer, a neuroscientist at the University of Utah, which conducted the study, said that using voice technology is comparable to “balancing a checkbook while driving.”

Cars each have different infotainment systems built in and some models of cars performed better than others. The best was the Chevy Equinox, Buick LaCrosse, and Toyota 4Runner. The most distracting was the Mazda6.

However, it’s important to note that all systems were classified as distracting. Even with hands-free controls, playing with music or trying to have a text conversation is mentally distracting. When you are driving a car, your attention needs to be completely on the road.

If you or a loved one has sustained a personal injury in a collision due to a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. A South Bend car accident lawyer at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak will work to get you the justice you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Call (574) 444-0741 today.

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak

Serious Attorneys for Serious Cases