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Older drivers more distracted by technology in cars

Distracted driving has become a serious issue. As technology gets better, smartphones and media devices distract more and more drivers. But the technology installed into a car can distract as well.

A new study finds that entertainment systems built into cars cause distracted driving, especially for older drivers. The study was done by the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the University of Utah.

“Infotainment” systems

The technology for entertainment systems in cars has grown. Many “infotainment” systems have built-in navigation, music players and wireless connections like Bluetooth for phones. Infotainment systems are meant to make driving easier. But using these systems while driving comes with a price.

Increased distraction

These systems create distractions for drivers. And for older drivers, the distraction is even worse. The study found that drivers 55 or older took eight seconds longer to use the infotainment systems than drivers between the ages 21 to 36.

Even hands-free options cause more distraction. Voice command systems often don’t recognize commands. This leads to distraction and frustration for drivers. When the systems don’t work, drivers take their attention away from the road.

The consequences of distracted driving

According to AAA, taking your eyes of the road for two seconds doubles your chance of crashing. And as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported, over 3,000 people died in 2017 because of distracted driving.

AAA recommends that you not use infotainment systems while driving. If you need navigation, program your destination before you put the car in drive. And practice using voice and touch-screen commands before you drive the vehicle.

The technology in cars tries to make our lives easier by offering navigation and entertainment options. But this technology can also make our roads more dangerous.

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