Drivers of newer vehicles in North Carolina might be under the impression that the advancements will improve every aspect of driving. While there are certain areas in which drivers can benefit from so-called “infotainment” systems, there are also potential hazards. These can put the driver, passengers and others on the road in jeopardy of a collision.

According to a recent study, two infotainment systems – Android Auto and Apple CarPlay – might negatively impact safety. The study by IAM RoadSmart found that these systems can reduce driver reaction time to a greater degree than driving after drinking alcohol or using cannabis. With these systems, drivers removed their eyes from the road for approximately 16 seconds when using touch controls while operating the vehicle. This was significantly worse than the duration their eyes were off the road if they were texting and driving.

When drivers have been drinking, the reactions reduce when they are at around 12% of the limit for alcohol in the system. For cannabis, the reaction time is reduced by a minimum of 21%. With cellphones, it came to 27%. But for Android Auto, it was 53%. Apple CarPlay’s reaction time was reduced to at least 57%. Even voice commands are distraction with 30% for Android Auto and 36% for Apple CarPlay.

A major problem is driver perception as to how long he or she is looking away from the road. Other challenges for drivers who are using infotainment systems is maintaining their lane and having a consistent speed based on the vehicle ahead. Drivers are advised to set the infotainment up before they start driving.

When efforts are made by legislators and law enforcement to reduce the frequency of distracted driving, it is generally considered to be cellphone related. However, certain vehicle add-ons could make the road unsafe and lead to a motor vehicle accident. Those who have been in a crash and suffered injuries may have long-term damage, need a hospital stay, require surgery and have problems returning to work. If there is a fatality, the family left behind will have funeral costs and the personal and emotional impact of an unexpected death. To investigate the crash and consider a legal filing, a law firm experienced in motor vehicle accidents may be able to help.