The Most Dangerous Driving Diversions May Come with Your Car

Apparently, there is now a device in many vehicles, which is even more dangerous than talking or texting on your cell phone—satellite navigation. Yes, it’s true—programming your SatNav while driving tops the list as the most distracting task you can perform while driving. This is not to say that sending and receiving text messages is not extremely distracting, and, in fact, text messaging falls barely below programming a car’s satellite navigation as far as dangerous driving diversions go.

Study Details Top Distracted Driving Tasks

A recent University of Utah study, headed by David Strayer, a professor of psychology, found that in-vehicle information systems remove drivers’ attention from the roadway for much too long a time to be considered safe—just like sending and receiving text messages.  Tied for third place in the study, researchers found that audio entertainment and making phone calls on a cell phone significantly increase the chances of having an auto accident due to the high distraction factor.

Unfortunately, far too many people continue to text and drive, despite the vast amounts of information, research and public safety announcements telling drivers of the risks associated with texting while behind the wheel. Strayer noted that people tend to use technology in a manner which was not anticipated by those who design the in-car systems. The manufacturers are simply attempting to make vehicles more appealing to drivers, and in doing so, may overlook the dangers of a new technology.

Further Reading: Deer vs. Car Accidents are a Big Problem in Wisconsin

A Review of In-Vehicle Information Systems

The American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety reviewed in-vehicle information systems in an array of vehicles manufactured in 2017. Those who participated in the study were asked to perform four different tasks while driving. These tasks included using voice-controlled features and touch screen features, as well as other technology which requires interaction between the driver and the system. Specifically, the tasks included radio tuning, navigation system programming, sending a text message and making a phone call. When touch-screen and voice-based technology was used by the study participants, hands and eyes left the road and cognitive abilities directed at driving were suspended for as long as 24 seconds. Prior research found that when a driver takes his or her attention from the road for a mere two seconds, the risk of an auto collision effectively doubles.

For most of those in the study, programming a navigation device took almost 40 seconds to complete, which is why this activity made it the most dangerous driving distraction, even ahead of sending and receiving texts. Train engineers have long been banned from using cell phones, but thus far only about 15 states plus Washington DC have bans on handheld cell phone use, while 47 states and DC explicitly ban texting. Washington States has recently banned the use of any electronic device while driving, in an attempt to lower the number of distracted driving accidents in the state.

Can Drivers Self-Regulate Their Dangerous Driving Behaviors?

The hope is that adult drivers will regulate their own distracted driving behaviors, particularly those associated with their car’s built-in features, such as SatNav. The brain activity which is dedicated to driving—and helps drivers make sense of and remember objects on the street—is significantly reduced when a driver is using a cell phone (by at least 37%). In 2015, at least 10 percent of all fatal crashes and 15 percent of collisions which resulted in injury to one or more people in the vehicles, had some element of distraction involved. The use of a cell phone is estimated to be involved in more than one-fourth of all distracted driving accidents, both texting and talking.

If It Weren’t Safe It Wouldn’t Be in My Car, Right?

The problem with navigation systems which come with the vehicle is that drivers tend to believe these systems are safe to use while driving, because if they weren’t safe, they wouldn’t be included with the car.  In other words, if the car allows you to fiddle with it while you drive, how dangerous could it be?  Until we as a nation join together and agree that drivers should drive—and nothing else—there will continue to be tragic deaths and serious injuries related to distracted driving accidents. If you or a loved one have been hit by a Wisconsin distracted driver, it could be extremely beneficial for you to speak to an experienced Wisconsin personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Contact Our Milwaukee Car Accident Lawyers Today

Aiken & Scoptur, S.C. - LogoIf you or someone you love is injured in a car accident, do you know where to turn for help? Who will help you recover the money you need to put your life back together again? At Aiken & Scoptur, S.C., we aggressively represent all of our injured clients from the very beginning.

Our Milwaukee car accident attorneys are dedicated to getting clients the full compensation they deserve. We take all personal injury cases on contingency, so you will not pay us a fee unless we help you obtain money damages. To discuss your case with an experienced trial lawyer, call us at 414-914-2803 or contact us today. We represent clients throughout the state from offices in Wauwatosa and Wild Rose.



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