New research from the AAA found that too complex infotainment systems could boost the risk of car crashes if drivers access the systems while behind the wheel.
According to the report, luxury car owners are even more at risk because infotainment systems in their cars are more complex than those in less pricey vehicles.
AAA researchers found that the most hazardous infotainment systems are those in the Tesla Model S, Volvo XC60, Audi Q7, Honda Civic Touring, and Mazda 3 Touring. Ford Mustang GT was also on the list.
The least risky cars were the Chevrolet Equinox, Lincoln MKC, Toyota Camry and Corolla, Hyundai Santa Fe, and Ford F250 XLT. Lead author of the new research David Yang explained that in-built infotainment systems can lead to accidents as the driver spends more times not looking at the road and with the hands off the steering wheel.
Safety Often Overlooked
Study authors believe that the risk can be even higher if car makers don’t design the systems with safety in mind. When auto makers ignore safety requirements, simple tasks are more demanding of drivers.
For the study, AAA investigators surveyed 120 young drivers who owned 30 different car models released in 2016-2017. The researchers were chiefly interested in how much time those drivers spent not looking at the road, and how demanding the in-vehicle technology was of them.
The lowest level of demand was listening to the radio, while at the other end of the spectrum, was trying to balance a checkbook. If a task was more demanding the risk of a car crash was exponentially higher. For instance programming navigation took around 40 seconds which means that a 25 mph speed, the driver had traveled across four football fields with the eyes off the road.
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