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AAA study analyzes distracting features on 2017 vehicles

Researchers contracted by AAA recently analyzed 30 in-car infotainment systems on new 2017 models. Their findings should be of interest to many drivers in Minnesota, especially those who are not aware of the ways that technology can be distracting. One in three Americans uses an infotainment system behind the wheel, which means potentially thousands of cases of distracted driving every day.

Of the 30 systems, seven demanded a moderate level of attention from drivers, 11 a high level and 12 a very high level. The study participants, who were between the ages of 21 and 36, were told to use the various features of the systems while on the road. Researchers noted the unsafe behaviors that drivers exhibited when distracted: ignoring stop signs, swerving out of lanes, driving excessively slow and more.

Using the GPS and texting were the two most distracting activities; each one took away a driver's attention for more than 40 seconds. Even using voice commands and listening to the radio were found to distract at some level.

Researchers blame manufacturers for adding features that are irrelevant to driving. They also note that the user experience with infotainment systems is uneven. In another AAA survey, 70 percent of U.S. adults expressed their desire for new vehicle tech, but 24 percent felt that current tech still works imperfectly.

Drivers are responsible for keeping control of their vehicles, so regardless of what distracts them, they will be held liable for any car accidents caused through negligence. The victim of a negligent driver may want to hire a lawyer who could help then recover for expenses such as medical bills, missed wages and more.

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