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Car infotainment

17th March 2020
Posted by Aston Avery

Worrying results from a new study by road-safety charity IAM RoadSmart released today show that the latest in-vehicle infotainment systems, which are designed to improve road safety, are failing and are in fact impairing reaction times behind the wheel – even more so than alcohol and cannabis use.

During the study, drivers completed a series of three drives on the same simulated test route to assess the level of impact from infotainment systems (Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as examples). On the first run, drivers did not interact with the system. On subsequent runs, drivers interacted with the system using voice control only and then using touch control only.

Both methods of control were found to significantly distract drivers however, touchscreen control proved to be the more distracting of the two. While many drivers realised the system was causing a distraction and modified their behaviour such as slowing down, performance was still impacted with drivers unable to maintain a constant distance to the vehicle in front, reacting more slowly to sudden occurrences and deviating outside of their lane.

Aston spoke to Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart to discuss the study as well as calling for the industry and government to ensure relevant policies are bought in to create safer driving for everyone.