Thursday, October 23, 2014

Infotainment Systems & Voice-Activated Smartphones Contribute to Distracted Driving

© Sadowski
Cars are evolving rapidly with advances in technology. What used to get us from place to place with few accoutrements are now home to infotainment systems supporting voice-activated smartphones are making distracted-driving problems worse.

Newer vehicles have systems that allow drivers to tune the radio, send texts or make phone calls without even taking their eyes off the road or hands of the wheel. But the problem exists because so many of the systems are complex and full of errors that it requires more driver attention than they should.

A series of studies released by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah, detailed these. One study examined isystems in the most common auto brands on the road: Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai and Mercedes. The second study tested the Apple iPhone's Siri voice system to navigate, send texts, make Facebook and Twitter posts, and use the calendar without handling or looking at the phone.

The voice-activated systems were graded on a distraction scale of 1 to 5, with 1 representing no distraction and 5 comparable to doing complex math problems and word memorization. They were tested by 162 university students and other volunteers in three settings: a laboratory, a driving simulator and in cars while driving through a Salt Lake City neighborhood.

To find out the results of the study and more information, click here.