There is little doubt that the streets of Germantown and Memphis are not as busy today as they were just a few weeks ago. There’s also little doubt that we all look forward to a return of the bustle of modern American life. But when traffic ramps back up, it will bring with it familiar problems, including drunk driving and distracted driving – and the motor vehicle crashes, injuries and fatalities these irresponsible behaviors cause.
While it has long been assumed that the most dangerous drivers are those impaired by alcohol or drugs, new research indicates that distracted drivers might be even more unsafe.
According to the recent study for road safety advocate group IAM RoadSmart, the distractions of infotainment systems can slow a driver’s reactions even more than alcohol or marijuana. Infotainment systems are typically powered by software such as Android Auto or Apple CarPlay to provide drivers with graphics-intensive directions, maps, music, audiobooks, rearview camera angles, weather information, internet access and more.
The research shows the percentage increase in drivers’ reaction times by the following:
- 12 percent: alcohol. Drivers whose BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is at or above Tennessee’s legal threshold of .08 percent
- 21 percent: drivers impaired by cannabis
- 27 percent: use of a hands-free phone
- 30 percent: use of voice controls for an Android Auto infotainment system
- 35 percent: texting
- 36 percent: use of voice controls for an Apple CarPlay infotainment system
- 46 percent: use of a handheld phone
- 53 percent: use of touch controls for an Android Auto infotainment system
- 57 percent: use of touch controls for an Apple CarPlay infotainment system
Car dealers and automakers want you to believe that the popular infotainment systems now included on new vehicles make you safer, but the data shows that their claims are unfounded. Unfortunately, people will pay attention to infotainment systems instead of the streets, traffic signals and traffic.
Researchers said that infotainment systems not only delay driver responses, but also result in some drivers taking their eyes off of the road for up to 16 seconds. At 60 mph, a vehicle travels 1,408 feet in 16 seconds.
If you have been harmed in a crash caused by a distracted, drunk or drugged driver, contact a Germantown attorney devoted to protecting clients’ rights and health in personal injury litigation.