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Infotainment Systems in Cars Causing Big Risks, AAA Says

Another reminder that technology is often a double-edged sword By ,

New infotainment systems increasingly present in vehicles are causing drivers to be distracted and to remove their hands from the steering wheel for potentially dangerous periods of time, according to a recent study commissioned by AAA (the U.S. equivalent of our CAA) through its AAA Foundation for Traffic Study.

Drivers using technologies like the touchscreen display and voice command systems are sometimes distracted for as long as 40 seconds, for example when programming their GPS or sending a text message. What can happen in 40 seconds? While programming a GPS, for example, a driver can cover the equivalent of four full football fields when traveling at 40 km/h!

AAA points out that taking one’s eyes off the road for even two seconds doubles the risk of being involved in an accident.

At present, roughly one in three drivers uses their vehicle’s multimedia system while driving. AAA aims to sensitize these drivers to the risks involved, but also to alert the auto manufacturers who are developing these increasingly complex and time-demanding systems.   

"Drivers want technology that is safe and easy to use, but many of the features added to infotainment systems today have resulted in overly complex and sometimes frustrating user experiences for drivers."

- Marshall Doney, AAA president and CEO.

The study involved evaluating infotainment systems present in 30 2017-model-year vehicles, and ranking them in one of our four categories, from least to most demanding. None of the systems was found to demand little of drivers. Here are the results of the study…

Moderately demanding infotainment systems:

  • Ford F-250
  • Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
  • Lincoln MKC
  • Toyota Camry
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Toyota Sienna

Highly demanding infotainment systems:

  • Cadillac XT5
  • Chevrolet Traverse
  • Ram 1500
  • Ford Fusion
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • INFINITI Q50
  • Jeep Compass
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Kia Sorento
  • Nissan Maxima
  • Toyota RAV4

Very highly demanding infotainment systems:

  • Audi Q7
  • Chrysler 300
  • Dodge Durango
  • Ford Mustang
  • GMC Yukon
  • Honda Civic
  • Honda Ridgeline
  • Mazda3
  • Nissan Armada
  • Subaru Crosstrek
  • Tesla Model S
  • Volvo XC60