In a recent study, the AAA Foundation said navigation impaired driving ability the most.

In a recent study, the AAA Foundation said navigation impaired driving ability the most.

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Use judgment when driving with infotainment devices

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published October 18, 2017

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Auto agency AAA is providing warning info to drivers of vehicles equipped with modern infotainment bells and whistles. 

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety believes that many of the latest infotainment systems — whether activated by voice or touch screen — that come equipped in vehicles are diverting attention away from driving and putting motorists at risk. 

The auto agency estimates that almost 40 percent of drivers nationwide use infotainment systems on the road, and the crash risk doubles if someone keeps their eyes off the road for two seconds.

In a recent study, the AAA Foundation focused on driving proficiency while using voice or touch screen interfaces to do navigation, call, text or use the radio. Navigation impaired driving ability the most, researchers said.

According to AAA, none of the vehicles studied required a low demand for attention, comparable to radio listening, during interactive activities. The best scorers were in the “moderate” rank, which included the Chevrolet Equinox LT, Ford F-250 XLT, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport  and Lincoln MKC Premiere. Toyota’s Camry SE, Corolla SE and Sienna XLE also scored this rank. 

Out of the rest of the 30 vehicles tested, 11 scored “high” and 12 scored “very high” for their distraction levels.

According to Gary Bubar, AAA Michigan public relations specialist, just because a vehicle is equipped to perform a task doesn’t necessarily mean it should be performed while the vehicle is in motion.

“When it comes to the more demanding tasks, like programming input in for GPS or navigation systems and text messages, do that before the vehicle leaves,” he said.

“Setting radio stations, it’s always better to do that before you leave, rather than trying to search, because even that task can be somewhat difficult on some of the infotainment systems.”

According to a statement from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles spokeswoman Alyse Tadajewski, FCA’s Uconnect system has a variety of interface options and is designed to “keep consumers connected, entertained and, most importantly, focused on the road.”

“Vehicle owners can access and control their Uconnect systems’ features and services by using advanced voice recognition technology, convenient steering wheel controls and intuitive touch screens or traditional knobs and buttons, as well as by utilizing the Uconnect app and Vehicle Brand Owner Site to remotely deploy secure commands to the vehicle,” the statement said.

Find out more about AAA Michigan by visiting www.michigan.aaa.com. For more information about FCA, visit www.fcagroup.com.

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