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New Car Safety Technology May Actually Impair Drivers

March 24, 2020
impair driver

A new study from IAM Roadsamrt suggests that some of the latest in-vehicle infotainment systems might negatively affect driver reactions times more than alcohol and cannabis. The study found that drivers take their eyes off the road for as long as 16 seconds while driving and using these infotainment centers. To put that into perspective, that’s a stopping distance of five to four car lengths on the highway. That would make driver reaction time worse than when texting and driving.

Key findings in this new research include:

1. Controlling the vehicle’s position in the lane and keeping a consistent speed and headway to the vehicle in front suffered significantly when interacting with either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, particularly when using touch control.

2. Participants failed to react as often to a stimulus on the road ahead when engaging with either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay – with reaction times being more than 50 percent slower.

3. Reaction time to a stimulus on the road ahead was higher when selecting music through Spotify while using Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

4. The impact on reaction time when using touch control (rather than voice control) was worse than texting while driving.

5. The use of either system via touch control caused drivers to take their eyes off the road for longer than NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) recommended guidelines.

6. Participants underestimated by as much as 5 seconds the time they thought they spent looking away from the road when engaging with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay via touch control.

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