In-Car ‘Infotainment’ Systems Slow Reaction Times

A recent study has found that drivers with infotainment systems in their cars have reduced reaction times, even more so than while being under the influence of alcohol or cannabis, reports Driving.co.uk.

The UK’s largest independent road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart commissioned the study and found that responses to external stimuli were adversely affected by the use of systems such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Stopping distances and lane control were also negatively affected.

The findings found that drivers took their eyes off the road for up to 16 seconds while using their infotainment systems, which is an equivalent of 500 metres (1,640 ft) while driving at 70 mph. Reaction times became even worse while using touchscreen systems, much more than texting while driving.

Neil Grieg, policy and research director at IAM RoadSmart, said: “Driver distraction is estimated to be a factor in around a third of all road collisions in Europe each year. While previous research indicates that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto perform better than more traditional buttons and controls, the results from this latest study raise some serious concerns about the development and use of the latest in-vehicle infotainment systems.

“Anything that distracts a driver’s eyes or mind from the road is bad news for road safety.”

One particularly worrying finding was how much participants in the study underestimated how long they were looking away from the road, by as much as five seconds.

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