We make better drivers and riders

Research reports

As well as issuing road safety policy statements and working with government and the media, the IAM RoadSmart Policy & Research Team undertake research into driver behaviour and a range of other road safety issues. Following are a sample of our recent published reports.

Infotainment - The Impact of interacting with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay when driving

Research report posted on 16/03/20 |
Distraction and Driving
Worrying results from a new study by road-safety charity IAM RoadSmart released today show that the latest in-vehicle infotainment systems, which are designed to improve road safety, are failing and are in fact impairing reaction times behind the wheel – even more so than alcohol and cannabis use.

During the study, drivers completed a series of three drives on the same simulated test route to assess the level of impact from infotainment systems (Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as examples). On the first run, drivers did not interact with the system. On subsequent runs, drivers interacted with the system using voice control only and then using touch control only.

Both methods of control were found to significantly distract drivers however, touchscreen control proved to be the more distracting of the two. While many drivers realised the system was causing a distraction and modified their behaviour such as slowing down, performance was still impacted with drivers unable to maintain a constant distance to the vehicle in front, reacting more slowly to sudden occurrences and deviating outside of their lane.

The study also found that using touch control resulted in reaction times that were even worse than texting while driving and drivers would often underestimate just how much their eyes were off the road while using touch control. Touch control also caused drivers to take their eyes off the road for longer than the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) recommended guidelines.

Many of the participants also found that controlling the car’s lane position as well as keeping a consistent speed headway to the vehicle in front suffered significantly when interacting with their infotainment systems, particularly when using touch control.

While the research does suggest that current systems are performing on a much higher level than they were a few years ago thanks to technological advances, it’s proving to still be a distraction for many drivers and anything that distracts a driver’s eye is estimated as a factor for as many as 30% of all road collisions in Europe each year.

This is why IAM RoadSmart has called on the industry and government to openly test and approve these systems to an agreed standard before they are released.

Read the full report here.

Supporting media

  • IAM RoadSmart TRL Simulator Study_Infotainment_March 2020_Final_Cover
    IAM RoadSmart TRL Simulator Study_Infotainment
    2.8 MB