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New study links infotainment systems with increased distraction

Drivers in Wisconsin who wish for an infotainment system in their vehicle would do well to understand what the drawbacks can be. In a nationwide AAA survey, 70 percent of respondents said they desired new vehicle tech, but only 24 percent felt confident that the tech can work without flaws. New technology is complex, and it can make dashboards unnecessarily complicated for some drivers.

These are not the greatest dangers, however. Infotainment systems, burdened as they are with so many features that are irrelevant to driving, can increase driver inattention. Researchers at the University of Utah studied 30 infotainment systems on 2017 vehicles from automakers like Ford, Dodge, Hyundai, Toyota, Tesla and Audi. All of them demanded a moderate or high level of attention.

For the study, drivers between the ages of 21 and 36 were asked to use these systems while on the road. Researchers recorded them going under the speed limit, failing to halt at stop signs and swerving out of their lanes. Drivers using voice commands sometimes failed to detect objects in front of them. Worst of all, drivers were mentally and visually distracted for more than 40 seconds when texting and when using the GPS, making these two functions the riskiest.

Whatever the distraction may be, inattentive driving is not acceptable. When one driver is more to blame for a motor vehicle accident than another, the latter could file a personal injury claim. Claims might end with victims being awarded damages for medical bills, rehabilitative care, lost wages, lost earning capacity and whatever else applies. Auto insurance companies will likely have a legal team fighting to deny payment, so victims may want a lawyer of their own to assist with the process.

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