Technology is evolving at a rapid pace, especially in the automobile industry. One feature on newer automobiles that may be especially attractive to buyers in South Carolina is the “infotainment system.” These systems allow a motorist to connect their smartphone to the automobile, which then can be operated using a touch screen or voice command on the vehicle’s dashboard.

However, according to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, vehicles with infotainment systems may not cut down on distracted driving and may even be distractions themselves. Although they remove the need for turning knobs or pressing buttons, they still allow a motorist to perform other activities while driving, such sending a text message, using the Internet, or checking social media accounts. These tasks take the motorist’s attention away from the task of driving, which is not safe and could cause the motorist to cause a collision, because they are not paying attention to the road and those around them.

Specifically, the research examined the visual demands, cognitive demands and length of time it took when motorists used various forms of technology while driving, such as touch screens and voice commands. The research revealed that it took, on average, 40 seconds for a motorist to program a navigation system while driving. Moreover, none of the 40 infotainment systems studied produced a low demand on motorists’ attention, and 29 of them necessitated a high level of demand on motorists’ attention. In comparing specific infotainment systems, researchers found that the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay systems required less of drivers than infotainment systems developed by automakers. However, all these systems still required a high level of demand for motorists.

So, people should not assume that utilizing an infotainment system makes them a safer driver. While they may not be physically manipulating a cell phone, they are still performing visual and cognitive acts that take their mind off the road. This is distracted driving, and it could lead to a car accident that injures or kills another person. If a person in South Carolina was injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, they may want to determine if that driver can be held liable for the damages they suffered.