In-Car Infotainment Are Worse Than Drugs For Drivers Says Study

Tue 24th Mar 2020

Infotainment systems such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are worse for reaction times than driving whilst under the influence of cannabis says a major new study from a road safety charity.

The highly engaging media modules are present in most new cars, with both Android and Apple launching their systems in 2014, allowing drivers to access certain apps on their mobile phone via a touchpad within the dashboard of their car.

Now IAM Roadsmart, one of the largest road-safety charities in Europe has found that key decision making responses such as stopping and lane control are negatively affected by the new infotainment systems.  IAM Roadsmart’s study found that drivers can sometimes take their eyes off the road for up to 16 seconds using the systems, which equates to 500m of driving at 70mph. The study found that Apple and Android’s ‘innovation’ had more of an adverse effect than texting while driving.

“Driver distraction is estimated to be a factor in around a third of all road collisions in Europe each year,” said Neil Grieg, policy and research director at IAM RoadSmart. “While previous research indicates that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto perform better than more traditional buttons and controls, the results from this latest study raise some serious concerns about the development and use of the latest in-vehicle infotainment systems.

“Anything that distracts a driver’s eyes or mind from the road is bad news for road safety.”

The research found that an undistracted driver usually reacts within one second, but those reaction times increase by 53 per cent (Android) and 57 per cent (Apple) respectively for infotainment systems. Those using cannabis see their reaction times increase by 21%. Even the voice activated infotainment systems have worse reaction times than those on the drug.