New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds drivers using in-vehicle technologies are visually and mentally distracted when trying to complete simple tasks.

AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Tracy Noble says the most distracting task was programming a navigation system while driving. Study participants were asked to do that test, taking an average of 40 seconds to do so. The majority of that time was spent with their eyes off the road. Noble says that is a scary statistic. Previous research shows removing your eyes from the road for just 2 seconds doubles the risk for a crash.

The study says when driving at 25 miles per hour, a driver can travel the length of four football fields during the time it could take to enter a destination in navigation.

Noble says when you get into programming a navigation system by voice or sending a text message by voice, that becomes a lot more complicated and that's when your eyes start to be averted from the road.

With 1 in 3 adults using infotainment systems while driving, AAA cautions that these technologies behind the wheel can have dangerous consequences. Only 24 percent think the technology works perfectly.

The study finds 45 percent of New Jersey motorists have seen or used in-vehicle voice command technology to make a phone call, tune music, send a text or use a navigation system.

About 44 percent of Jersey drivers do not want to have voice command technology in their car, regardless if it works reliably, says Noble. About 63 percent of motorists say they are satisfied with the performance of voice command technology in their vehicle.

Noble says despite advances in technology, safety is not taken into consideration with the amount of cognitive and visual distractions that voice technology leads to these days.

In New Jersey, traffic fatalities rose from 562 in 2015 to 604 in 2016, according to the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety. Part of the increase is due to distracted driving, such as cell phone use behind the wheel.

In a recent AAA survey, 38 percent of New Jersey drivers admit to being distracted by technology while driving.

If you have an in-vehicle infotainment system you need for navigation, Noble suggests "putting the destination in prior to departure. If you need to alter that destination during your trip, pull over to the side of the road or to a rest area to make those changes."

She adds that drivers want technology to be safe and easy to use but many of the features added to infotainment systems have resulted in overly complex and sometimes frustrating user experiences for drivers.



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