WXXI AM News

New vehicle technology creates dangerous distractions for drivers

Oct 9, 2017

Credit freeimages.com/Kristian Stokholm

A growing array of technology in new cars can pose a dangerous risk for distracted drivers.

Triple A conducted a recent study where drivers used a touch screen, voice command, and other interactive technology to make a call, send a text message, program GPS navigation, or tune a radio while driving.

Lindsay Kensy, spokesperson for the auto club in Western and Central New York, said it took the study participants more than 40 seconds to perform some of the tasks.

"You would think that to tune the radio you wouldn't be that distracted, but with some of these new technologies such as Sirus XM or Pandora, they are a little more difficult to get to than just the old AM/FM radio."

Kensy said the risk of a crash doubles when a driver has their eyes off the road for just two seconds.

"While these technologies are really awesome, you really need to think about what you can do when you're driving,” she said, “and that's really just keeping your eyes on the road."

Triple A has met with some auto manufacturers to discuss the findings of their study.   The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says automakers should aim to reduce distractions by designing systems that are no more visually or mentally demanding that listening to the radio or an audiobook.

Federal traffic safety officials do recommend that automakers block access to infotainment system technology when a vehicle is moving, but the guidelines are only voluntary.