Smartphones are often blamed for the rise in distracted driving accidents in New Jersey and around the country, but research from the American Automobile Association suggests that using sophisticated automobile entertainment and navigation systems can be just as dangerous as sending a text message while behind the wheel. AAA tested five vehicle electronic systems from Ford, General Motors, Dodge, Honda and Kia, and t found that all of them place high or very high demands on drivers.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Utah. They observed 64 participants to find out how distracting automobile entertainment and navigation systems are and whether or not connecting them to smartphones reduces the problem. While the researchers found that features like Apple's CarPlay and Android's Auto make fewer demands on drivers, they concluded that they can still be dangerously distracting in many situations.
Programming navigation systems was found to be especially distracting. The participants took an average of 40 seconds to complete this task. A vehicle traveling at 55 mph covers a distance equal to the length of a football field in just five seconds. The problem also appears to be getting worse. After studying accident footage captured by vehicle cameras over a four-month period, the technology firm Nauto discovered that 67 percent of the serious collisions had been caused by distracted drivers.
Distracted driving collisions are often catastrophic because the reckless motorists involved rarely apply their brakes before crashing. This lack of evasive action could be used by attorneys to demonstrate liability in lawsuits filed on behalf of accident victims. To obtain it, attorneys could seek to have the vehicle involved inspected in order to retrieve the information stored on its data recorder.