Worrying results from recent IAM RoadSmart research show that the latest in-vehicle infotainment systems impair reactions times behind the wheel more than alcohol and cannabis use.
Among the shocking results, the study – undertaken by TRL on behalf of IAM RoadSmart, the FIA and the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund – found that reaction times at motorway speeds increased average stopping distances to between four and five car lengths, drivers took their eyes off the road for as long as 16 seconds while driving, and using touch control resulted in reaction times that were even worse than texting while driving.
IAM RoadSmart is now calling for urgent action, stating that updated, consistent standards are required to minimise driver distraction. Find out more here.
As a result of their recent research findings, IAM RoadSmart have called on industry and government to openly test and approve all infotainment systems and develop consistent standards that will help minimise driver distraction.
Read the press release here.
Key research findings:
1. Controlling the vehicle’s position in the lane and keeping a consistent speed and headway to the vehicle in front suffered significantly when interacting with either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, particularly when using touch
2. Participants failed to react as often to a stimulus on the road ahead when engaging with either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay – with reaction times being more than 50 per cent slower
3. Reaction time to a stimulus on the road ahead was higher when selecting music through Spotify while using Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
4. The impact on reaction time when using touch control (rather than voice control) was worse than texting while driving
5. Use of either system via touch control caused drivers to take their eyes off the road for longer than NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) recommended guidelines
6. Participants underestimated by as much as 5 seconds the time they thought they spent looking away from the road when engaging with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay via touch control.
For the full research report click here.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy & Research
Simulator test subject when asked "Did anything surprise you about using Android Auto?"
Neil Greig, Director of Policy & Research, IAM RoadSmart
For information on IAM RoadSmart's advice and support for businesses visit our commercial website here. Fleet managers and those with a responsibility for colleagues who drive for work may also be interested to read our 2019 whitepaper 'Driving while distracted: Challenges and solutions' which you can download here.
Guy L, via social media
Car manufacturers and members of IAM RoadSmart were given the opportunity to share their view on the safety of Infotainment systems in the most recent edition of RoadSmart magazine. Current members of IAM RoadSmart can view a digital copy of the magazine by logging into iamroadsmart.com here.
If you would like to find out more about IAM RoadSmart membership and courses, click here for details.