AAA: Complex Infotainment Systems Very Distracting

The infotainment systems on 2017-model vehicles in the U.S. are distracting drivers for dangerously long periods of time, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

A study conducted for the group by the University of Utah evaluated 120 drivers in 30 different cars and trucks. It concluded that the infotainment system in 23 of the vehicles requires either “high” or “very high” levels of attention among motorists trying to use various features. The other seven vehicles required “moderate” demand. None earned the best “low” demand rating.

The vehicles with the most distracting infotainment systems are the:

  • Audi Q7
  • Chrysler 300 C
  • Dodge Durango GT
  • Ford Mustang GT
  • GMC Yukon SLT
  • Honda Civic Touring
  • Honda Ridgeline RTL-E
  • Mazda3 Touring
  • Nissan Armada SV
  • Subaru Crosstrek Premium
  • Tesla Model S

The risk of a crash doubles when a drive looks away from the road for as little as two seconds, AAA says, citing previous research. The group says many of the infotainment systems it tested distract users visually and cognitively for as much as 40 seconds for such tasks as programming the nav system or sending a text message.

The researchers note that some of the most distracting systems include functions unrelated to driving, such as sending text messages, checking social media or surfing the web. They advocate locking out such features when a vehicle is in motion.