Vehicle infotainment systems not as safe as believed

Connecticut drivers who frequently use Apple's CarPlay may be interested in a new study that looked into the safety of the infotainment platform. The study found that using CarPlay reduces driver's reaction times more than texting, using marijuana or being at the DUI limit for alcohol.

The study, which was done by U.K. researchers at IAM RoadSmart, compared Apple's CarPlay and Android Auto against other distractions. As a part of the study, drivers used a simulator to drive three times in a standard route. During the first route, participants drove without any infotainment system use. The second time they were asked to use voice assistants to carry out various tasks, such as making a call or sending a text. On the third route, they were asked to carry out these tasks via the touchscreen option while driving the route.

Researchers looked at the driver's ability to stay in their lane and maintain speed, and they tracked each driver's gaze during the simulation. The study found that drivers' reaction times slowed by 57% when using CarPlay with touch and 36% when using CarPlay with voice controls. Reaction times slowed to 53% with Android Auto. In comparison, reaction times slowed to 21% with the use of cannabis and 12% at the DUI limit. Slowed reaction times have been found to increase the risk of auto accidents.

Drivers often think that using hands-free options when driving makes it safe for them to operate a phone or infotainment system in their vehicle. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Talking on the phone, listening to music and using hands-free infotainment systems might distract drivers and lead to serious car accidents that could result in injuries or death. Drivers have the responsibility to be aware and pay attention while operating a motor vehicle. When they don't, a motor vehicle accident may occur. If drivers were negligent, they may be responsible for medical and compensatory damages to the injured parties.

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