Drivers Remain Distracted for Longer than Previously Believed
In-vehicle entertainment systems which allow for voice control have become increasingly common in new cars, but they aren’t all created equal. Researchers from the University of Utah took a look at the systems to determine what impact they had on drivers, as well as whether or not drivers using voice commands could actually issue those commands while driving safely. The team found that our ability to divide attention between competing tasks is flawed, even when we aren’t required to use our hands.
The researchers first created a baseline scale of 1 to 5 to measure distracted driving. The team established that a driver doing nothing but focusing on the road earned a score of 1, a driver listening to the radio earned a score of 1.2, and a driver trying to pay attention to the road while solving a math problem AND memorizing a list of words earned a score of 5. The researchers then compared ten different systems present in 2015 models of popular cars, as well as three voice-command-recognition programs on phones. The team found that the Mazda 6 had the most dangerously distracting in-vehicle system, scoring a 4.6 out of 5 in tests. The least distracting system was determined to be that installed in the Chevy Equinox, which received a score of 2.6.
Despite the differences between the systems, each caused a level of distraction to drivers that could result in serious accidents and injuries. The research revealed that drivers who had issued a voice command to their in-vehicle system or phone needed an average of 27 seconds after issuing the command for their attention to fully return to the road. This length of time is long enough for a driver traveling at 25 mph to cover the length of three football fields while failing to appropriately scan for hazards, signs, or pedestrians along the way until their mind is fully refocused on the task of driving.
If you’ve been hurt by a distracted driver in Kentucky, seek legal assistance to determine if you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries resulting from this accident by contacting Georgetown personal injury attorney Jeremy Mattox at 502-867-6766.