Are Infotainment Systems Dangerously Distracting?
June 9, 2021
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The primary purpose of an infotainment system is to act as a hub for the driver to access as much information as possible in one place, reducing driver distraction. With the radio, climate controls, navigation, phone contacts, and even the internet at the driver’s fingertips, auto designers hope to make these controls safer to use while behind the wheel. While infotainment systems have succeeded in centralizing numerous controls and information, they have failed to serve as a safe-to-use hub.

A 2019 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that infotainment systems are particularly dangerous when it comes to distracted driving. Young drivers, aged 21 to 36, took their eyes off the road from 17.7 to 31.4 seconds to complete different tasks using an infotainment system, such as navigation and calling and dialing. On average, older drivers, aged 55 to 75, took their eyes off the road for over 8 seconds longer.


It is important to note that, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it only takes 5 seconds at 55 miles per hour to go the length of a football field. Therefore, infotainment systems distract drivers long enough for them to drive the length of multiple football fields without looking at the road.

Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, explained that the two major issues with in-vehicle systems are their “complexity and poor design.” These points must be addressed before infotainment systems can be considered effective in minimizing driver distraction. After all, most cars these days have infotainment systems, no matter the make or model, which means the majority of drivers out there are at risk of being distracted while driving.

Put safety first. Take time to learn how to use your infotainment system before you start driving, and make sure to limit how much and how often you use it.

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