Say Your Command: Infotainment Overboard and Distracted Driving

“Read my new messages,” “Reply ‘I will arrive in 10 minutes,’” “How do I get home?” Every time you speak a command into your hands-free phone, you’re driving distracted.

Distracted Driving
Integrated in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), systems that deliver entertainment and information content in automobiles have the potential to increase a driver’s distraction depending on the features and how they’re accessed.

What is IVI?

IVI systems use Bluetooth technology or smartphones to help drivers control the system with voice commands, touchscreen input or physical controls. While the systems vary, the tasks are similar including managing and playing music, utilizing navigation for driving, delivering rear-seat entertainment like movies, games, social networking, etc, listening and sending SMS text messages, making phone calls, even accessing internet-enabled content like traffic, weather and sports scores. These systems are becoming the norm in modern vehicles, many of which devote their own tablet-like screen to displaying new forms of automotive technology. Some of the features are helpful, for example, a backup camera can expand a driver’s view, making reversing safer.

The Risks are Real

We all know that texting and driving is dangerous (and against the law). But the hands-free workarounds that allow drivers to continue to use their devices behind the wheel through voice-activated technology is unfortunately, far from distraction-free. According to the National Safety Council, 80% of drivers believe hands-free devices must be safe if they’re built into their vehicles…that’s just not true. Numerous studies show that using hands-free provides drivers no safety benefit because the mind is distracted from driving. Distracted driving is, in fact, one of the most common causes of car accidents, and the costs are high. reports that in 2013, accidents involving distracted drivers killed 3,154 people and caused serious injury to 424,000.

Sorry Siri

Research from the University of Utah found that hands-free, voice-controlled systems in cars can distract drivers more than was previously believed. Apple’s voice activation system, Siri is not as safe as American’s might believe according to research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. In fact, it received a 4.14 rating which placed it as the most distracting among the systems tested by the University. For comparison, doing a complex mathematical problem was rated at a 5 and listening to the radio was rated at a 1.21.

Know Your Rights

As technology becomes more sophisticated, the dangers of distracted driving become a growing concern. Our experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. represent clients in Ocean County and Monmouth County, New Jersey. If you or a loved one has been involved in an automobile accident because of a distracted driver, discuss your case with one of our New Jersey personal injury lawyers immediately. Schedule your free initial consultation today; we can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 888-389-9533. Contact the attorneys at Villani & DeLuca to make sure your rights are protected.