All of those cool new gadgets that are showing up in newer model cars might lead to more accidents down the line. According to a recent AAA study, the increasing capabilities of infotainment systems in cars are contributing to higher levels of driver distraction. The effort to greater simplify those types of technologies are actually making it easier for drivers to divert attention from the road. info

There are many instances where infotainment systems have served to make the driving experience better, however, research has found that drivers can be mentally and visually distracted for more than 40 seconds while performing tasks such as navigation programming or sending texts through their infotainment systems. “While infotainment system design has improved in some cases, automakers have added too many functions unrelated to the core focus of driving.” says AAA East Central legislative affairs director Theresa Podguski.

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A team was commissioned from the University of Utah to assess 30 different vehicles and compare visual and cognitive demand and time needed to complete certain interactions, like talking, entertain a navigation destination, operating the radio and texting. Of the 30, none of the vehicles had a low demand from drivers, with well more than half garnering high or very high demand from them.

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From those 30 vehicles, the moderate group included the Chevrolet Equinox LT, Ford F250 XLT, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Lincoln MKC Premiere, and Toyota’s Camry SE, Corolla SE and Sienna XLE. The more distracting models were the Audi Q7 QPP, Dodge Durango GT, GMC Yukon SLT, Honda Ridgeline RLT-E, Subaru Crosstrek Premium, and Tesla Model S, along with a few others. AAA suggests automakers should work to improve the design's functionality that would better address drivers attention needs.