Newer cars contain their own distractions

Is your car a burden? Of course, you may answer yes when you think about the car payments and insurance premiums. You may not realize, however, that your vehicle may be making it harder for you to do what you're supposed to do behind the wheel: drive.

According to a recent study, many new cars are placing a substantial burden on their drivers by including technology that makes it difficult for them to keep their attention on the road. While distracted driving contributes to increasing numbers of car crashes in Tennessee and across the country, laws banning handhelds and texting may not be enough to keep you safe.

Distraction right in front of you

The study combined the efforts of a university research team and AAA to examine the technology included in 30 new models of cars from different manufacturers. Most cars include options you may never have imagined having access to while you drive. The infotainment centers in many new vehicles include capabilities that allow you to do any of the following:

  • Making phone calls
  • Tuning the radio
  • Searching music files
  • Posting to social media
  • Searching the internet
  • Programming navigational systems

While many of the new systems include hands-free voice-activated components, researchers found that you may need to give considerable attention to a voice-activated program while you try to find the right words to, for example, make a phone call. Additionally, even voice activation often requires you to check the screen numerous times to see if the computer understood your command.

Looking out for yourself

About 80 percent of the cars tested demanded high or very high levels of distraction to manipulate the technological offerings on the dashboard. None of the vehicles ranked low for in-car distractions. Safety advocates have long suggested that car manufacturers include technology that disables distracting infotainment features when vehicles are in motion, but only about half of the cars tested had this capability.

Since car manufacturers are not taking steps to reduce the amount of distraction inside their vehicles, it is up to the driver to use discipline to remain focused on the road. If you have been the victim of a car crash resulting from a distracted driver, you may already know that discipline behind the wheel is a high expectation. However, if drivers cannot resist the temptation of the infotainment systems, you have the right to seek legal advice on the best way to pursue the compensation you deserve.

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