Over the last several years, the topic of distracted driving and the use of electronic devices and technology has been at the forefront of many conversations and debates. The safety and risk concerns have been put forth and disputed by various entities. Across the country, the vast majority of states have put legislation into place to try and address this issue. The National Conference of State Legislatures indicates that Missouri is one of only a handful of states that does not explicitly ban the handheld use of cell phones while driving.
Certainly, cell phones have been at the heart of the distracted driving controversy but according to the AAA Exchange, new technologies that are built into vehicles may also be posing risks to people. Called infotainment systems, these things generally feature prominent screens on the dashboard of a vehicle via which a driver conducts a myriad of activities.
Infotainment systems may be used for navigational purposes, phone calls, texts and more. Study results from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates that these systems could be exacerbating the distracted driving problems rather than solving them.
Out of 40 systems evaluated in the research, 29 were noted to place high or very high demands on a driver. This means they required some combination of the driver’s eyes, hands and mind would be diverted to the infotainment system action instead of actually driving. Programming an address into the navigation function was the most distracting activity of all included in the research according to the study, distracting a driver for an average of 40 seconds.