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Study finds car infotainment systems distract drivers

Some Georgia drivers may be distracted by the infotainment systems installed in their cars according to a study released in June by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The study examined the effects of the manufacturer's system as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Researchers found that both the Android and Apple systems did a better job of helping drivers keep some attention for the task of driving while the manufacturers' systems created a greater cognitive strain.

However, all of the systems had elements where the distraction was greater than others. For example, entering a destination was more difficult in CarPlay than in Android Auto. On the other hand, this was reversed when it came to sending text messages.

Distracted driving is a major factor in motor vehicle accidents. Over a four-month period in one study, distracted driving caused around two-thirds of the severe crashes in fleets that Atlas Insurance Holdings insured. Another company found that drivers in the 17-22 age range spend more than 10 percent of their time behind the wheel doing something with their phones.

Semi-autonomous vehicles may add another challenge for safety advocates. A study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is ongoing to find out how drivers tend to use autonomous features.

Car accidents caused by distracted driving can result in serious injuries for passengers, other drivers or pedestrians. Injured people may have a long recovery period and might not be able to return to work temporarily or permanently. Therefore, compensation from the insurance company of the driver responsible can be critical. If the driver is uninsured or underinsured or if the insurance company offers too little money, the injured person might want to file a lawsuit against the driver. A civil lawsuit has a lower burden of proof than a criminal case and only requires that the winning side present a preponderance of evidence.

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