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Are new cars too distracting?

Automakers frequently promote advanced safety features on the new models of their cars. Undoubtedly, those features have saved countless lives. Perhaps you can attest to this if your airbag ever deployed during a collision. However, safety is not the only area in which automakers seem to be competing.

A recent trend in the auto industry is the standardization of infotainment features that provide drivers with an array of options at their fingertips. However, you may agree with many safety advocates who have expressed concern that these features may be creating a greater hazard than that of  texting and driving.

Danger at your fingertips

Even if you haven't recently purchased a new vehicle, you have likely seen the ads touting the options available in the latest models. The ads may show large, touch-screen controls with a single finger of the driver making a selection. However, those ads seldom focus on the driver's face because, most certainly, the driver's eyes are not on the road.

A recent study commissioned by AAA shows that some new cars have up to 50 infotainment controls — including voice-activation, touch screen and writing pads — centered on the dashboard, steering wheel and windshield. While automakers may say the features are safer because they are within your reach as you drive, the research showed that most of the latest car models scored poorly when it comes to distractions. Some common distractions new cars provide for drivers include:

  • Adjusting the climate
  • Tuning the radio
  • Making calls
  • Sending texts
  • Searching the internet
  • Programming navigation

Navigational systems rated highest in terms of the amount of time they require you to take your eyes from the road. On average, it takes about 40 seconds for you to program a destination and activate your navigation system. If you do this while driving, your chances of being in an accident multiply. In fact, studies show that if you take your eyes from the road for only two seconds, you double your risk of an accident.

The tragic consequences of distracted driving

You may use every precaution when you drive, ensuring that you only program your navigation or send a text when your vehicle is not moving. Nevertheless, with the tempting array of options in front of you, you can probably understand why the rate of distracted driving accidents continues to climb.

If you have been the victim of an accident caused by the negligence of a distracted driver, you may be suffering in many ways, including physically, emotionally and financially. Fortunately, there are Indiana professionals to help you manage in all of these areas, and you may benefit from seeking such help.

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