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New technologies may be making vehicles more dangerous

A study sponsored by the American Automobile Association indicates that people who are shopping for cars want the latest technology, and that the technology may actually make driving more dangerous. Drivers in Florida and across the country want their vehicles to come equipped with features for hands-free calling and texting, and they want the latest in fancy dashboards. With backing from AAA, researchers from the University of Utah found that, of 30 systems examined in 2017 model cars, none required only a low level of demand on the part of drivers.

Seven of the systems put a moderate demand on driver attention and the remaining 23 systems required high or very high levels of demand. According to a co-author of the study, car makers should be more selective based on vehicle safety. Technology in motor vehicles is not an inherently bad thing, he said, but technology that is not relevant to driving may cause safety problems.

The study examined cognitive and visual demand and measured the length of time it took for drivers to execute a task. Study participants were told to use the in-car technology while driving. They used voice commands, made calls and texts, changed radio stations and used in-dash touch screens. Researchers found that using the GPS was the most distracting activity for the drivers. Texting and driving was second. Even listening to the radio distracted the drivers to an extent.

Drivers were distracted for in excess of 40 seconds while they were sending texts or using GPS technology. According to previous research, the risk of motor vehicle accidents is doubled if a driver is distracted for just two seconds. A distracted driving crash can leave people with serious injuries. People who have been harmed by such a negligent driver might want to have legal assistance when seeking compensation for medical bills and other losses.

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