Infotainment systems have become commonplace for many of today’s motorists, but they might be causing more harm than expected.
According to new research by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart, systems with touchscreens, audio and video interfaces are significantly impacting driving performance.
In-vehicle information (IVI) systems were originally designed to boost road safety, however the findings suggest they could be more dangerous than drink driving. These infotainment systems reduce drivers’ reaction time more than alcohol or cannabis use.
The research also revealed that using touch screens caused reaction times to be worse than when texting while behind the wheel. The study found that drivers took their eyes off the road for up to 16 seconds while driving – equivalent to driving more than 500 metres at 70mph.
Drivers taking part in the research were found to be unable to keep a consistent distance from the vehicle ahead and less able to stay in their lane.
Speaking about the research, Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart pointed out anything that distracts a driver’s attention away from the road should be avoided.
He said: “Driver distraction is estimated to be a factor in around a third of all road collisions in Europe each year.”