Dashboard Infotainment Systems Cause Distraction
New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has reinforced an inconvenient truth: In-vehicle technology isn’t safer, and hands-free is not risk-free. The technology in our vehicles today makes it easier than ever to be constantly connected. This research, however, shows the point at which innovation and safety become mutually exclusive. Drivers need to understand the dangers to which they expose themselves and others if they don’t disconnect.
Most people are unaware of distractions associated with hands-free and voice control features. In an NSC poll, 80% of respondents said they believe hands-free devices are safer than handheld, and 53% said they believe voice control features are safe because they are provided in vehicles.
AAA research study asked participants to use voice commands, touch screens and other interactive features to make calls, send texts, use the radio and program a navigation system while driving. Results showed drivers were visually and mentally distracted for more than 40 seconds when programming the navigation system or sending a text. That means a vehicle traveling 45 miles per hour would have a distracted driver for a half-mile.
The dangers of using an infotainment system while driving are simply not worth the risk. Add these tips to your transportation policy and help make your employees safer:
- Choose vehicles with infotainment systems that are deactivated while the vehicle is in motion
- Install a distracted driving app on cellphones to keep texts and emails from arriving while the vehicle is in motion
- Turn off cellphones, and avoid interaction with infotainment systems unless the vehicle is in park
Get more information about on-the-job transportation safety at our
Distracted Driving for Employers page.
Ask Lisa Robinson: Stay Safe Behind the Wheel in Winter
“Whether winter creeps in slowly or hits with a bang, we all have to re-learn winter driving tactics that first time in a winter storm,” Robinson says. “The days are shorter so we are driving more after dark. Ice, snow and even strong winds can mean a higher attention level is needed to keep us safe on the road. With holiday parties and events, there might be drowsy and impaired drivers sharing the pavement with you. Stay alert, stay sober and stay alive!”
Q. How should I prepare my vehicles for winter?
A. Perform these checks at the first frost and throughout colder weather:
- Tires should have sufficient tread; colder weather deflates tires slightly, so they may need to be inflated to the proper pressure for optimal performance
- Make sure all fluids, including antifreeze and windshield washer solution, are topped off; windshield washer solution should be rated for winter use so it doesn’t freeze
- Replenish your car emergency kit with basics including fresh batteries for your flashlight, bottled water, food, first aid kit, blanket, hat, gloves, ice scraper and even a shovel if there’s room
Q. Some cars have features like traction control. How do I know what my car has and how it works?
A. Use the
MyCarDoesWhat? website to ensure you are taking full advantage of all your car's safety features.
Q. Is it OK to start my car and let it run for a while on really cold days?
A. Not in a garage or enclosed building. Upon starting, vehicles begin emitting dangerous gases including carbon monoxide. These gases can hurt or kill you if they are inhaled in closed, non-ventilated areas like garages. Engines should not be running inside industrial buildings unless they are hooked up to an exhaust system that channels exhaust outside the building.
Check out the
NSC Winter Driving tips and resources page for even more ideas.
Lisa Robinson is a senior program manager with the National Safety Council, responsible for employer traffic safety programs. Lisa works with employers to help them integrate traffic safety within their safety culture by increasing their resources and knowledge on driver behavior, distracted driving, drowsy driving, impaired driving and other traffic safety concerns.
Defensive Driving Saves Time, Money and Lives
The #1 cause of death on the job is motor vehicle crashes. Crashes caused 200,000 on-the-job injuries in 2015, with a cost to employers of over $68 billion in lost productivity, medical and other expenses. It’s clear that preventing crashes should be a top priority for employers, and defensive driving a part of every safety program.
Defensive driving means being proactively prepared to operate a vehicle safely in the face of adverse driving conditions. Strategies for defensive driving include planning for:
- Personal energy and alertness level: Are you fatigued or distracted while driving?
- Other drivers, who may be fatigued, distracted or aggressive
- Legal and practical driving habits: following speed limits, maintaining distance between vehicles, turning and passing safely
- Driving to conditions: time of day, weather, road conditions and traffic
- Regular vehicle maintenance
The most dangerous part of your employees' workday is when they're on the road. Just one work-related crash could affect your organization's productivity and finances, and more importantly, the health and future of your company and your employees.
The NSC Driver Safety curriculum is at the forefront of knowledge about driver behavioral patterns, attitudes and habits. As with all safety training, defensive driving requires regular reinforcement through written policies, safety talks and coursework. Find out more about our training options on our
Defensive Driving Safety Training page.
Field Tests Begin in Phoenix on Waymo Self-driving Cars
Since 94% of road crashes today involve human error, self-driving cars promise a future where anyone can ride with a driver who isn’t drunk, tired or distracted. Self-driving cars can also open up new avenues of independence for people whose physical challenges make it difficult or impossible to drive a car on their own.
Waymo began as a Google research project, and was spun off into its own company in 2016. In the Greater Phoenix area, self-driving cars are being tested on public roadways. Local residents have been using Waymo self-driving vehicles, with a test driver on board, to commute to work, go grocery shopping and take their kids to soccer practice.
In addition to the National Safety Council, Waymo is partnering with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Foundation for Blind Children, the East Valley Partnership, and the Foundation for Senior Living to launch the world’s first public education campaign for fully self-driving cars.
“Let’s Talk Self Driving” campaign aims to increase education and understanding about how this new technology can help address some of the biggest safety challenges on our roads today. Billboards seen around Phoenix include the headlines, “Because we should all get home safe,” “Because we can end drunk driving,” and “Because everyone wants independence.”