We have become so used to our electronic devices that we sometimes fail to notice how much screen-time we have each day and how much we have come to rely on our connected gear. Most of us value the convenience of access to almost unlimited information at any time and any place that our devices afford us.
But there is mounting evidence that the information and entertainment we crave can be dangerous. A recent study shows that the infotainment systems standard on new vehicles are so distracting that their impact on driver response times is even more detrimental than drinking and driving.
It is safe to assume that no one is urging the Arizona legislature to adopt laws that would penalize infotainment system users, though the dangers of fiddling with the in-dash gadget can be even greater than driving under the influence of alcohol or cannabis.
The research by IAM RoadSmart was of the effects on drivers of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, the most popular infotainment systems going. The researchers measured the reaction times of drivers using the systems at highway speeds and found that the average stopping distance of their vehicles increased by four to five car-lengths.
Researchers also determined that drivers using the infotainment systems were taking their eyes off of the road and traffic for up to 16 seconds. That means their eyes are on the system rather than the road while their vehicle travels up to 1,408 feet (at 60 mph). That’s more than four and a half times the length of the football field at Sun Devil Stadium.
This latest research can be added to the stack of distracted driving studies that have shown this is a road safety issue worth some attention.