Study: Touchscreen Tech In Cars Putting More Drivers At Risk

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The next generation of in-vehicle technology is bringing with it a new wave of distractions.

The new technology is intended to keep phones out of ours hands behind the wheel, but a new study by AAA found that many of the latest touchscreen radios are putting drivers at risk.

New cars are packed with voice command, touchscreens and built-in GPS and the technology sharpens by the year.

The study shows 30 new infotainment systems take time and attention away from the road.

“These tasks are more complicated than we thought,” said Christine Delise of AAA.

Delise says more than half of Marylanders use the features in their cars.

Researchers say the average driver eyes are off the road for about 40 seconds when a driver sets a navigation system.

“If you need to engage in social media, send a text, program different directions, don’t do it while trying to drive behind the wheel,” Delise said.

The poll says while 70 percent of drivers want the new tech behind the wheel, only 24 percent feel it already works perfectly.

“I think it’s dangerous,” one woman said. “Even talking on the phone, even thought you’re not holding the phone, you’re just talking. You wonder how much attention you’re really paying to what’s going on around you.”

“I see it all the time, not only the radio, the telephone, too, you know,” one man said. “It’s very dangerous.”

The plea isn’t just for drivers. AAA is urging automakers to revisit the systems and make them safer, and follow federal guidelines to lock out certain features while driving.

Thirty-two percent of Maryland drivers say they do not want voice technology in their cars.

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