Posted on Monday, December 25th, 2017 at 9:58 pm
Texas may have banned texting while driving but there is no law that prohibits using and programming an infotainment system while driving, yet recent research by the AAA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that using these systems can be a major distraction while driving.
Texas is not the only state not to have any rules about using infotainment systems. No state has any such laws. It seems as if the speed of change and uptake of new information and communications technology is faster than the ability of lawmakers to establish laws to prevent people being killed because of the technology’s ability to distract.
Automobile infotainment systems usually have a touch screen and multiple uses. They allow phone communication, radio, music and navigation. Some manufacturers ensure that their infotainment systems that are designed for in car use cannot be actually programmed while driving. That helps to cut down on distracted driving to some extent, as the AAA study has shown that it can take up to 40 seconds to program one of these systems. Since it only takes 2 seconds failure to concentrate to cause a crash, according to the NHTSA, it’s a wonder that the use of infotainment systems isn’t a major cause of car accidents.
AAA study reveals the dangers of using an infotainment system
The AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety used researchers from the University of Utah to study the effects of infotainment systems on distracted driving. 30 vehicles and their drivers were used in the research. The main findings were:
- It took an average of 40 seconds to program a navigation system alone;
- 12 out of the 30 systems in use on the survey allowed navigation programming while the car was in use;
- 1 in 3 drivers use an infotainment system;
- Most systems require moderate or high levels of concentration;
- Younger drivers are more likely to be distracted than older ones.
In addition to the AAA study, there have been previous studies that have highlighted the fact that technology has increased the burden on drivers.
Of course, distracted driving has been around for as long as people have been allowed to drive. The point is that these earlier distractions, such as eating and drinking while driving or talking to a passenger in the car or staring at something out of the window, are still with us. The new sources of distraction, cell phones, tablets and infotainment systems are increasingly part of our everyday lives wherever we are and whatever we are doing. Common sense dictates that if you wish to fiddle with your navigation system or talk to someone a cell phone that you pull over somewhere safe off the road to do so. Unfortunately, it is too difficult to have legislation to ensure common sense.
Car drivers don’t even seem to think that the infotainment systems they use in their own car are very reliable. In the AAA study, only 24% of the drivers surveyed thought that the infotainment systems they have in their cars were reliable, yet another survey revealed that 70% of U.S. drivers actually want a functioning infotainment system installed in their car.
Negligence is the key to a distracted driving personal injury lawsuit
Texas may not have any rules regulating the use of infotainment system but the inference from the AAA study is that the use of these systems could be a major cause of distracted driving accidents.
If you are injured by a distracted driver you cannot use their use of an infotainment system against them as it is not illegal. But you can claim that their behavior was negligent. Every driver makes a conscious decision when they use a device like a cell phone or an infotainment system and if the use of it distracts them, then this could be construed as negligence.
If you are injured in a car accident in the McAllen or San Antonio areas and believe that it was due to a distracted driver, you should make an appointment with a car accident attorney at the Patino Law Firm to discuss your legal options. Contact one of our attorneys at 956-631-3535.