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AAA Warns of In-Car Technology Distractions For Older Drivers

Kimberly Schwind, Public Affairs for AAA Ohio Auto Club is a guest on the Gary Rivers Show Friday morning to discuss how new auto technology is becoming increasingly distracting for older drivers.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (July 25, 2019) – In-vehicle infotainment technology creates potentially unsafe distractions for all drivers, but is especially demanding for older adults (ages 55-75), according to new AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research. On average, older drivers removed their eyes and attention from the road for more than eight seconds longer than younger drivers (ages 21-36), when performing tasks like programming navigation, texting, calling or tuning the radio using in-vehicle infotainment technology.

“Voice-command functions found in new in-vehicle technology are intended to help drivers by keeping their eyes and attention on the road,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Unfortunately, the complexity and poor design of some of these systems could cause more harm for older drivers, in particular, instead of helping them.”

By 2030, more than one in five drivers on the road will be over the age of 65. With seniors becoming the fastest growing demographic in the U.S., finding ways to design technology to improve their comfort and safety is critical and may hold the key to enhancing the safe use of this technology for all drivers.

Studying Distraction:

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety partnered with researchers from the University of Utah to test the visual and cognitive demand created by infotainment systems in six 2018 vehicles Study participants in two age groups (21-36 and 55-75) were required to use voice commands, touch screens and other interactive technologies to make a call, send a text message, tune the radio or program navigation, all while driving.

While the technology created potentially unsafe distractions for all drivers, the safety risk is more pronounced for older drivers, who took longer (4.7-8.6 seconds) to complete tasks, experienced slower response times and increased visual distractions. Past research shows removing eyes from the road for two seconds doubles the risk for a crash.

HEAR THE INTERVIEW – 11:05a Friday

A total of 128 drivers ages 21-36 and 55-75 participated in the study of six 2018 model-year vehicles. The latest report is the seventh phase of distraction research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Visit AAA.com/distraction to learn more.

To learn more about the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, visit AAAFoundation.org.


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