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Distracted driving crashes increase with new technology

A recent study conducted for AAA looked at the impact of new vehicle infotainment systems on the ability to maintain focus. Minnesota drivers with high-tech gadgets in their dashboards might want to note the findings of the study, which indicate that infotainment may increase distracted driving risk. AAA issued a reminder to drivers that the presence of certain technologies in a vehicle does not necessarily mean they are safe to use while driving.

Participants in the study were asked to drive one of 30 2017 model vehicles and perform tasks with the vehicle's in-dash infotainment system. Each of the systems was given a rating based on how much it contributed to distracted driving. Of the systems tested, 12 demanded very high levels of attention, 11 high levels and seven moderate levels, according to the study.

While driving, study participants were to make phone calls, send text messages, use in-dash touch screens, enter GPS navigation information, change the radio station or use voice commands. The most distracting task for the drivers was using the GPS system while the second-most distracting was sending text messages. Using the technology distracted drivers both mentally and visually for more than 40 seconds. Prior research indicates that a driver removing his or her eyes from the road for as little as two seconds may as much as double the likelihood of a car accident.

Study participants drove way under the speed limit, swerved out of traffic lanes and missed stop signs while they were performing infotainment tasks. Someone who is injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver might be entitled to recover compensation for damages. An attorney experienced in personal injury law could help prepare a case or negotiate a settlement with an at-fault driver and their insurer.

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