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AAA: Older drivers distracted more by in-vehicle tech

The presence of in-vehicle technology can be distracting to drivers in West Virginia and across the U.S., and this is especially true for older motorists. A study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah shows that drivers between the ages of 55 and 75 take their eyes off the street for eight seconds more on average than drivers aged 21 to 36 when using in-vehicle tech.

This technology includes touchscreens and voice commands that allow drivers to do things like dial phone numbers, send texts, plot navigation and change the radio station. For the study, a total of 128 drivers used in-vehicle tech in these and other ways while driving in six vehicles. These vehicles were Audi, Cadillac, Lincoln, Mazda, Nissan and Volvo models. It took the older adults between 4.7 and 8.6 seconds longer to perform these actions.

While in-vehicle tech is meant to reduce distraction, some systems come with complex designs that non-tech-savvy drivers may not find easy to navigate. There could be multiple menus to navigate, and voice command features do not always pick up one's voice right away.

Improving these tech systems could be crucial to reducing crash numbers. According to AAA, the risk for a car crash doubles when one looks away from the road for two seconds.

A crash victim who has been injured by a distracted driver may be able to file a claim for damages. In the case of a phone-related distraction, one only needs to obtain the phone records. Legal counsel could help a victim gather the necessary evidence to show that negligence occurred.

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