Contrary To Popular Belief, Up And Coming Infotainment Systems Are Making Us Worse Drivers, Not Better

Contrary To Popular Belief, Up And Coming Infotainment Systems Are Making Us Worse Drivers, Not Better

Bluetooth, music, navigation, voice commands — they've all become dangerous distractions for teen and adult drivers alike.


Driving demands two levels of attention: vision and mental. Maintaining a high level of both attributes are required for driving safely on the road. Over the recent years, distracted driving has been an increasing problem thanks to cell phones and other interactive technology. The Department of Transportation ran the first ever national campaign against distracted driving in 2014 called, "U Drive. U Text. U Pay."

It is now 2018, and vehicle manufacturers are installing infotainment systems in the majority of their cars. These systems are capable of doing almost anything for you while driving on the road. Some popular features include:

  • Playing music and other media through Apple Car Play and Android Auto.
  • Voice-commands like calling, voice to text and Google search.
  • Touch-screen
  • Backup cameras
  • GPS

Range Rover Infotainment System Displaying AppsWikipedia

The functionalities provided by these systems allow for the user to surf the web, social media and even send a text message which are all things that should be done prior to or after getting behind the wheel. As more data became available and the issue grew direr, science experiments had to be done to truly understand the effect of our distractions.

The Ground-Breaking Experiment

A study done recently by AAA's Center for Driving Safety & Technology with researchers from the University of Utah ran a test that measured the amount of visual and mental demand completing tasks using the infotainment system as well as the time it took in 40 different 2017 and 2018 cars. As interactive technology continues to evolve and make our lives easier, so does the issue of driving distracted.

The participants of the study were put up to the task of using the voice command, touch screen and other technologies that required human attention to call, text, set up music or audio and program the navigation while driving.

The Results Don't Lie

Out of all the user tasks, the most distracting ended up being setting up the navigation, taking on average of 40 seconds for the drivers to complete. That's 40 seconds where anything can happen. Furthermore, out of the 40 vehicles that were tested, NONE of the infotainment systems resulted in "low" demand. In fact, 29 systems generated a high to very high demand while the leftover 11 finished with a moderate rating.

Turns out, the use of Apple Car Play and Android Auto systems are actually far less demanding than the pre-manufactured in-vehicle systems. The study is telling us that third-party apps are being designed to help combat the distractions but even then, it still isn't enough to produce low demand results.

So, What's Less Distracting? Native or Third-Party Systems?

Here's the statistical breakdown:

  • Third-Party apps were 24% (5 seconds) faster on average than Native systems.
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Systems made calling 31% (15 seconds) faster.
  • Driver's still took 33 seconds (third-party apps) to compared to 48 seconds (native) to complete the navigation task.
Vehicle reports with in-depth information from the study for each infotainment system are available here on the AAA website.

Study Report Summary of Distraction Levels for a Tesla Model S AAA's Center for Driving Safety & Technology

At the end of the day, AAA is recommending that vehicle manufacturers should aspire to create native infotainment systems that require a low amount of driver attention.

The New Standard and More Studies to Come

Societal pressures to develop safer, less attention-demanding infotainment systems in cars straight off the lot could change the future designs of many cars in the future. People will only become aware of this public safety issue if more tests like these are conducted and corporations raise awareness about distracted driving through national campaigns.

Organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study that showed 3,450 deaths in the United States were caused by car accidents related to distracted driving. Out of that study, an interactive data visualization company worked with a personal injury lawyer in Fort Lauderdale to create an interactive map where users can see in real-time the fatalities spread out across the country since 2016. Distracted driving can be anything: texting, eating, drinking, smoking and even a passenger in the car or an outside object that caught your attention for a few seconds. Understanding the effect technology can have on us and how it transfers over to our driving is important to arrive alive every single day.

Popular Right Now

Top 10 Places I Would Love To Visit

This is a list of places that I would love to visit in the near future.

I love to travel. Almost all my life, I have always wanted to explore new places that I've never been to in order to expand my horizons.

Even though my friends hate it, I love taking NUMEROUS selfies to make sure I have a permanent visual representation of that location. But there are places that I, unfortunately, have not travelled and would love to visit in the near future.

These are the Top 10 Places I'd Love to Visit

10. Seattle, Washington

Even though I've been told that it rains there most of the time, I would love to visit the Space Needle and drink Starbucks at its original location. If I have time (and money), I would not mind seeing the Seahawks play in the CenturyLink field.

9. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This city hosted the 2016 Summer Olympics this past year and I definitely want to visit the sights and sounds televised. From the Sugarloaf Mountain all the way to the Copacabana Beach, this magnificent city has it all. I think it would be best if I visit the city during Carnival.

8. Cairo, Egypt

I can not dance like the girl on this GIF, but I will definitely try if I ever visit Cairo. I might die on a camel's back in the Sahara desert but it will be worth it if I see the Pyramids, the Sphinx, and the Nile River. Hopefully, I will find a REAL oasis that is not a mirage.

7. Rome, Italy

"Are you not entertained?" I will try to say that when I visit the Colosseum and other sites in the Italian capital. I should brush up in my Italian soon so I don't confuse "Can I get gelato?" with "Where can I rent a motorcycle?"

6. China

Not many people know this but I am actually a quarter Chinese. The closest I've ever been to experiencing China was when I visited Hong Kong when I was 6 or 7. What I really want to do is see the forbidden city in Beijing (another Olympic host city) and the Great Wall of China. It also would not hurt eating authentic Chinese food while I am there.

5. San Francisco, California

The only place I've been in California is Los Angeles and I would love to add this metropolitan in my next west coast trip. Besides crossing this iconic bridge, I would also eat food at its Chinatown, take a boat trip to Alcatraz Island, and end my night at the Castro District.

4. London, United Kingdom

Wow, another Summer Olympic host city. I swear I did not even notice my patterns until now. Anyways, I would love to see Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and London Eye when I visit UK's capital. Just remind me not to drive because I will definitely be driving on the wrong side of the road. Good thing I will be using the red double-decker bus while eating fish and chips.

3. Australia

Hello from down under! One of the biggest islands on the planet is also its own country and continent. I would die happy watching an opera in its iconic Sydney Opera House, watch the Australian open in Melbourne, trek through the Outback, and see a koala and kangaroo. I just hope I do not have to punch a kangaroo when it steals my dog.

2. Hawaiian Islands

Aloha! Because one of my favorite Disney movies is Lilo and Stitch, I am currently binging Hawaii 5-O on Netflix, and Moana was just released in theaters, I should visit this amazing paradise. I do not have to bring my passport to eat in a luau and other festivities in the island. I would love to learn how to surf and and do the hula dance. I just have to make sure I do not run into lava while I am driving.

1. Paris, France

Last but, not least, the city of lights. The love capital of the world would be perfect if I was not single. Nonetheless, I can still visit the Mona Lisa within the Louvre, drink authentic French wine while on a boat floating on the River Seine and visit the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Now that you know where I want to go, I want to hear about your cities. What are some places you would love to visit? Let me know in the comments below.

Cover Image Credit: Trends and Life

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5 Essentials To Know Before Your Long End-Of-Year Road Trip

Essential you need to think about for a long road trip.


So it that time of year again where everyone is leaving their college town to go home for breaks or maybe go on vacation to somewhere else and have a change of scenery from books and teachers for some time. For me, this time of year means I am driving from the normally warm weather of Alabama to the cold weather of New Jersey. This year is a little different as I may actually be making that over 16 hour (or 1,008 miles) drive by myself which I have never done before.

So this is quite the experience and I wanted to share some advice to maybe make your long car ride a little more enjoyable. You may be wondering though how I can give this type of advice if I have never done this drive alone but I have done several times (nine times to be exact) with others from my family to fellow students. But also I have learned some of these ideas from my Dad who is a long distance truck driver so if anything he knows what he is talking about when it comes to driving long and far.


Before you think about making a long car ride make sure you get a good night sleep for several days before hand.


Stock your car up with candy so you have fewer stops to make. Also, make sure one of the snacks is a candy of some sort so you can get a little sugar high so you don't feel tired. AVOID the coffee as a way to get energy as it will just lead to more breaks.


If doing a long car ride you need to have some type of playlist made as you will be crossing over state borders meaning your favorite radio station will no longer be on as that station doesn't reach where you're going. So getting a playlist of your favorite tunes made with a decent amount so it won't repeat that much. Or go Pandora where you can easily switch between genres but just be aware you will probably hear the same commercial at least twenty times before you get to your final destination.


Have something tell you the way to go either have it written down and put a passenger in charge of giving you a heads up when your exit is coming. Or go with google maps or OnStar which will re-route itself if you just happen to miss your exit and you don't want to get off the interstate and get back on to get back to where you missed. Also since this is a busy time of year on the road the navigation will help you figure out where there is the least traffic.


Check the weather before you leave so you will know what is expected for the area you will be driving through. Will you have sunshine the whole way which may make the trip go a little faster or rain/snow which can very much make the trip longer as people will driver slower for this type of road condition.

Take these tips into consideration before making your trek anywhere this time of year.

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