Are Vehicle Infotainment Systems Causing More Distracted Driving Accidents?

Although distracted driving has always been an issue, it wasn’t until cell phones came along that the number of car accidents the behavior caused dramatically increased. Drivers dividing their attention from phone conversations and the road proved to be just too dangerous. Then along came smartphones and drivers begin texting, checking emails, and even watching videos on social medial accounts – all while trying to stay focused on their driving. At our Virginia personal injury law firm, we have successfully represented far too many clients who have suffered serious injuries because of a distracted driver.

Instead of helping to combat the issue, vehicle manufacturers may be actually helping to increase the risks of distracted driving with the new technology they are adding to new vehicles. One of these innovations having the most impact is infotainment systems.

Infotainment Risks

The majority of new vehicles today have infotainment systems installed. Drivers can basically do many of the same things they can do on their cell phones, but instead of touching their phones, it is all done by voice command on the system. GPS systems, text messaging, checking emails, etc.

Vehicle manufacturers have stated that they feel the solution to cell phone distraction is having these functions available in the vehicle itself, but just how safe are these systems and do they really decrease the number of distracted driving incidents?

Safety advocates say no because drivers still take their eyes off the road to look at the screen when they are using voice-to-text options to make sure the transcription is accurate. It is a fairly automatic reaction, even for a driver who is cognizant of avoiding distracted driving behaviors.

AAA Study

According to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the poor design and complexity of many infotainment systems could be causing more distracted driving issues, especially for older drivers.

It has been established by multiple studies that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles a driver’s risk of a crash. In the AAA study, older drivers took their focus away from the road and onto their infotainment system for more than eight seconds longer than younger drivers. This included the time it took to perform what are supposed to be simple tasks like fiddling with the radio or setting navigation.

Safety advocates say the difficult voice command functions, the position of system controls, and multiple menus significantly reduce an older driver’s ability to easily complete these tasks, and that vehicle manufacturers need to make specific design changes to address these issues.

Distracted Driving Accident?

Distracted driving is a very real danger on the roads, and our personal injury firm has reported on multiple accidents caused by drivers who were engaged in texting, accessing social media, and other deadly distracted driving behaviors. Despite the known dangers, many drivers still continue to engage in distracted driving behaviors, causing serious injuries that leave innocent victims facing overwhelming physical and financial issues to deal with.

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, contact a Virginia car accident attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have against the at-fault driver. Our firm will work diligently to get you the financial compensation you deserve, like the $235,000 settlement we were able to obtain for one client who suffered multiple injuries when another driver failed to yield the right of way.

Our injury firm also offers a free car accident injury guide, which covers topics such as what damages can be claimed, how much a claim may be worth, and how passenger injury cases are different. Call Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free case evaluation.