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Posted: October 05, 2017

Drivers distracted by dashboard technology at higher risk of crashing

An example of dashboard technology in most new cars in 2014. 
MacFormat Magazine
An example of dashboard technology in most new cars in 2014. 

By Shelby Lin Erdman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Drivers distracted by increasingly complicated dashboard screens and technology are at higher risk for traffic accidents, according to a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

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“Driver distraction caused by visual, manual, or cognitive interactions unrelated to the operation of the automobile is a significant source of crashes on the roadway,” according to study author and University of Utah professor David Strayer .

The study, released on Thursday, looked at InVehicle Information Systems to determine how complicated they are to operate and the impact  they have on a driver’s attention and focus.

These systems allow drivers to email, text and use social media, and can contain dozens of buttons on the steering wheel and across the dashboard.

Strayer found that some vehicle infotainment systems are more distrating than others, and some are more difficult to operate, but that they all divert a driver’s attention.

“It’s adding more and more layers of complexity and information at drivers’ fingertips without often considering whether it’s a good idea to put it at their fingertips,” Strayer told The Associated Press.

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The study suggests automakers could ultimately limit access to certain highly distracting technology when the vehicle is in motion.

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