Vehicle Technology a Dangerous Distraction for Older Drivers | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Many newer model vehicles come equipped with dashboard technology that is supposed to make our lives easier. These “infotainment” systems offer GPS, multiple radio options, cell phone Bluetooth, and more. However, a recent study reveals that this technology may actually increase the risk of car accidents, especially for older drivers.

Study researchers found that the large screens are often distracting for drivers, especially for drivers who are 55 years and older, because they cause the driver to shift their attention back and forth, from the road to the dashboard. During the study tests, it took older drivers an average of eight seconds longer to use these infotainment features than for younger drivers.

That means that for eight seconds, that older driver’s eyes are off the road. Prior studies have shown that even two seconds looking away from the road doubles the risk of a crash. Another study showed the distance covered in five seconds of driving at 55 mph is equivalent to the length of a football field.




The study found that it is not just the dashboard touchscreen that can cause distractions for drivers, but even the vehicle voice commands can cause a distraction for a driver, especially when the commands the driver is giving aren’t recognized by the vehicle’s technology.

Safety advocates recommend that drivers take care of all these tasks before they put their vehicles in drive. If a driver is having an issue while they are driving, they should pull over before attempting to straighten things out.

Avoiding In-Vehicle Distractions

No matter what your age, avoiding any distractions while you are driving is critical to staying safe. The following tips can help:

  • Make sure to set your vehicle’s temperature, radio, navigation, and other controls before you begin to drive.
  • Make sure to put your phone and any other electronics in a place where you won’t be distracted by them and where you can’t access them.
  • Set your smartphone so that anyone who calls or texts will be informed that you are driving and will return their call later.
  • If you do have to make a call, text, check emails, or any other task with your phone, pull over to a safe spot before picking up that phone.

Contact a Carolinas Personal Injury Attorney

Distracted drivers are not just those who use their cell phones. Drivers who are dealing with car electronics, GPS devices, or a host of other distractions can lose full attention to the road around them and cause serious car crashes. If you have been injured in an accident caused by distracted driving, contact Shapiro & Appleton to meet with a skilled North Carolina car accident attorney to discuss what type of financial compensation you may be entitled to for your injuries.