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Dashboard “Infotainment” Displays: a Key Cause of Distracted Driving

Dashboard Infotainment Displays: a Key Cause of Distracted Driving

If you’ve driven a car made in the last decade, you’ve likely noticed the presence of ever-larger touch screens on the dashboard. These dashboard displays may be convenient for directions and music choices, but they’re a huge part of the growing problem of distracted driving. The attorneys at Buttafuoco & Associates are deeply concerned about this grim trend.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the problem of distracted driving, as well as what the research says about the role of dashboard “infotainment” systems in the distracted drivers epidemic.

The Problem of Distracted Driving

Our Northern New Jersey car accident attorneys often see cases involving distracted driving. This is no surprise, considering that distracted drivers claim lives daily. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 3,308 distracted driving deaths in 2022 alone, making distracted driving a leading cause of car accidents in New Jersey since 2017. Despite this, drivers persist in hazardous behaviors like phone use and texting while driving, and distracted driving as the cause of an accident is significantly underreported.

Whether the driver is texting, calling, or using apps, interacting with a cell phone involves manual, visual, and cognitive distractions. These distractions take the driver’s hands off the wheel, their eyes off the road, and their mind off the task of driving. While some advocate for “hands-free” devices, these aren’t any safer. According to the National Safety Council, even talking on a hands-free device poses a significant cognitive distraction.

“Infotainment” Dashboard Displays and Distracted Driving

There have been modest moves to reduce distractions, ranging from stricter laws regarding cell phone use while driving to cell phones having a “driving” mode that limits notifications and keeps drivers from accessing features on the road. Some may even suggest that the convenience of large dashboard displays may be a step in the right direction.

In fact, surveys have found that most drivers believe these devices are safe if they’re built into the vehicles. However, our car accident lawyers serving Northern New Jersey tell us that they only serve to enhance the problem, giving drivers yet another omnipresent way to take their eyes, hands, and thoughts off the road.

AAA commissioned a study to investigate the cognitive demand of dashboard displays in 2017 car models, and the researchers from University of Utah found that some tasks distracted drivers’ attention for up to 40 seconds. That might not sound like much, but even traveling at 25 MPH, that’s a distance of nearly four football fields. Also, a troublingly high level of distraction was found in a wide variety of makes and models; vehicles with the most cognitively demanding displays ranged from modest Honda Civics to high-end Teslas.

Distracted Driving Laws in New Jersey

In an attempt to combat distracted driving, New Jersey has made it illegal to text or talk on a handheld device while driving. In fact, multiple offenses can result in a minimum $600 fine and 90-day suspension of your license. While you’re still technically permitted to use devices hands-free, our Northern New Jersey car accident lawyers strongly advise against it.

If you or a loved one suffers an injury due to a distracted driver, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced legal team at Buttafuoco & Associates. We have the expertise to help you get your life back on track.

Call 1-800-NOW-HURT for a free consultation with our experienced car accident attorneys in Northern New Jersey.


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