When distracted driving comes to mind, the emphasis is almost always placed on cellphones and other handheld devices. Little attention is given to technology built into most new cars. Many of today's drivers, however, are spending copious amounts of time programing their GPS, switching songs, and browsing through various apps while behind the wheel.
How older drivers are affected
NBC News reports that a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Utah, carried out by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, found built-in technology to be more problematic for older drivers.
"Drivers will shift their attention back and forth from the driving task to the in-vehicle task," said William Horrey of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. "If they're taking long glances inside the cabin, that's particularly risky."
For drivers ages 55 and older, the distraction can be overwhelming. Unlike many young drivers who are adept at new technology, these emerging built-in features are more demanding and confusing for older drivers.
The study divided drivers into two groups: one consisting of participants ages 21-36 and another group ages 55-75. Each driver was issued a 2018 car that came standard with several smart features, including navigation screens and voice activation controls.
During the study, drivers were asked to complete the following tasks:
- Send a text message
- Program music
- Program a navigation system
- Place a call
Both groups experienced some challenges performing these tasks behind the wheel, but the 55-75 drivers found it to be more demanding and time-consuming, since multiple steps were involved.
Use the technology when not behind the wheel
The study concluded, "drivers of all ages should use these infotainment technologies only for legitimate emergencies or urgent, driving-related purposes."
One 71-year-old participant found no use for the multiple technological features and found himself distracted by something he didn't need to use.
"If I was driving that kind of car," he said. "I would probably put a napkin or blanket or something over that screen so that I could concentrate on driving the car."
With the advent of built-in technology, irresponsible use greatly raises the likelihood of a crash. As suggested by the study, these features should never be used if drivers must take their hands off the wheel and eyes off the road.
Drivers can mitigate the risk of a crash by doing the following:
- Programming a GPS and using other built-in features while parked or pulled over
- Have a passenger program and adjust the features
- Only use voice-activated controls
If you or a loved one was involved in a crash caused by someone else's distraction, you likely sustained injuries that make attending work or engaging in daily activities difficult. If you're worried about the medical expenses and lost wages resulting from your crash, worry no more.
The attorneys at Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone will fight on your behalf. We have a proven track record of holding negligent drivers accountable and helping injured motorists maximize their compensation.
Contact us today online to schedule your free case evaluation.