Cellphones are a major cause of distracted driving — but now there’s another way technology is creating danger for drivers. According to a recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, dashboard devices are causing more distracted driving than ever. Technology built into the car — the kind we no longer have to fiddle with on the small screens of our phones — can distract us on the road for more than 40 seconds.
If sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for just 5 seconds, the time it takes to travel the length of a football field at 55 mph, what does that mean for dashboard devices?
The Problem with Dashboard Devices
First, let’s talk about what a dashboard device is and what is isn’t. Dashboard devices are smart-screen technology built into our cars. They aren’t cellphones propped up on the dashboard for ease of using Waze on the go, but the actual “infotainment” systems that already include voice or touch screen navigation. You’ll see these primarily on newer model cars. According to AAA, two-thirds of 2017 vehicles have dashboard devices rated “highly distracting.”
Why is infotainment technology a problem? Because drivers try to interact with it while the car is
Apps like Waze will disable changes to ongoing navigation or not allow a driver to input a new destination while the car is in use for a simple reason: It’s deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nine people are killed in the U.S. each day in crashes involving a distracted driver while another 1,000 are injured.
AAA’s Center for Driving Safety & Technology and researchers at the University of Utah teamed up to test dashboard devices and users’ reactions to them. Both visual and cognitive demand were examined alongside the time it took users to complete a task with the dashboard device in 30 newer vehicles. Study participants were asked to use voice command, the touch screen, and other interactive features to make a call, send a text, program navigation, or change the radio station while driving.
According to the study’s results, none of the 30 vehicles was rated as a “low demand” for drivers, meaning each infotainment system required at least a moderate amount of attention to complete a task. Twenty-three of the 30 systems generated “high or very high demand” for drivers.
The Most Dangerous Cars with Dashboard Devices
It’s no surprise that a Tesla, Audi, or other high-end vehicle might come with high-end distracting devices, but some popular new-model sedans and SUVs that are big hits with families can be just as dangerous.
If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, you may be taking a look at some of the following popular models that have dashboard devices. Here are their rankings by the demands placed on the user while driving.
Very High Demand Dashboard Devices
The following 2017 vehicle models received a “very high demand” score for their dashboard devices: Audi Q7 QPP, Dodge Durango GT, Ford Mustang GT, GMC Yukon SLT, Honda Ridgeline RTL-E, Mazda3 Touring, Nissan Armada SV, Subaru Crosstrek Premium, Tesla Model S, and Volvo XC60 T5 Inscription.
High Demand Dashboard Devices
The following 2017 vehicle models received a “high demand” score for their dashboard devices: Cadillac XT5, Chevrolet Traverse LT, Dodge Ram 1500, Ford Fusion Titanium, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Hyundai Sonata Base, Infiniti Q50 Premium, Jeep Compass Sport, Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, Kia Sorento LX, Nissan Maxima SV, and Toyota Rav 4 XLE.
Moderate Demand Dashboard Devices
The following 2017 vehicle models received a “moderate demand” score for their dashboard devices: Chevrolet Equinox LT, Ford F250 XLT, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Lincoln MKC Premiere, Toyota Camry SE, Toyota Corolla SE, and Toyota Sienna XLE.
How to Stay Safe Using Dashboard Devices
As a reminder, anything that takes your attention away from driving can be a distraction. That includes kids in the backseat, hurrying to eat breakfast on your way to work, or putting on makeup. But there’s no doubt that devices remain the top driving distraction today.
While dashboard devices certainly can be useful during a trip, making a phone call, sending a text, or changing your navigation should never be done while driving. Listening to navigation rather than watching the screen, or asking a passenger to pay attention to the visuals, is safer than constantly looking down at your route on a display screen instead of straight ahead. However, even audio can take our minds mentally off the road, so it’s important to take precautions and be as defensive a driver as possible.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has vehicle reports for each of the dashboard devices that were evaluated as a way for consumers to learn more about their vehicles or help inform their next vehicle purchase. According to the report, the study also aims to create change within the auto industry:
“Automakers and other industry players can leverage these results to isolate the most significant sources of driver demand generated by use of their products, and to enhance these designs such that they minimize the demands placed on people who use them while driving.”
Given that the report came out in late 2017, we may not see automakers address any possible changes until 2019 models.
Contact an Ohio Dashboard Device Attorney Today
Have you or a loved one been involved in a collision with a driver who was distracted by a dashboard device? The personal injury attorneys of Plevin & Gallucci are experienced in handling motor vehicle collision cases involving distracted driving, from texting while driving to dashboard devices, throughout Ohio.
Recovering from a serious injury is a long and painful process. Getting the compensation you deserve doesn’t have to be. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
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