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Infotainment systems distracting older drivers more than younger

When thinking of distracted driving, many Missouri residents are quick to point the finger at teenagers and young drivers and their texting and driving habits as the cause of these motor vehicle accidents. What many do not realize is that, while using the cellphone while driving is dangerous, it is not the only form of distracted driving. In fact, it may come as a surprise that older drivers are distracted eight seconds more than their younger counterparts by in-car infotainment systems.

Large digital infotainment systems are common sights in cars these days. While one would think that systems are becoming easier to navigate and people are becoming more used to them in their cars, this is not the case.

In fact, distracted driving research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety demonstrates that these technologies are harder to use and are poorly designed. It is suggested that companies need to think of older drivers when they are designing these systems. There is a higher proportion of older drivers than there is younger ones, and their number is only going to grow over time.

While age and experience give older drivers an advantage while driving, as they are quicker to respond to changing road conditions and can anticipate how a driver might act, these new systems are putting them at a disadvantage. Voice demands for calling, texting, navigating or tuning radio stations caused 55-75-year-old drivers to take their eyes away from the road for longer than 21-36-years-olds.

Driving requires not only that one's eyes be on the road, but also one's mind. Anything that distracts a driver from the task of driving can be considered a distraction and can be deadly for everyone on the road.

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