You hear it a lot: “The roads are getting more dangerous for motorcyclists, thanks to increased texting while driving, and impaired driving.” But according to a study from the UK, there’s an even worse culprit. In-car infotainment.
Specifically, the study from IAM Roadsmart is talking about systems like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The study was undertaken by TRL and studied reaction times on a track. Drivers were sent out with a blood-alcohol limit above the legal limit, with cannabis in their system, with both hands-free and handheld phones, with voice-activated infotainment systems (Android Auto, Apple CarPlay) and touchscreen-activated infotainment systems (Android Auto, Apple CarPlay).
According to the findings, the legal blood-alcohol limit was the least impairing factor, slowing down reaction times by 12 per cent. The most impairing factor was touchscreen-activated Apple CarPlay, which slowed down reaction times by 57 per cent.
Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also resulted in about a half-metre lane deviation while using the navigation system. Other findings included the discovery road users underestimated their time looking away from the road by as much as five seconds, when using infotainment systems. Touchscreen control seemed to have much more of an effect than voice control; when using touch control, both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay usage resulted in drivers taking their eyes off the road for longer than the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends.
For a decent summary of the study, you can see the published project report here.