AAA warns of distracted driving in seniors

Published: Jul. 25, 2019 at 6:38 PM MDT
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AAA is advising of a new danger when it comes to distracted driving - seniors are getting distracted by in-vehicle information systems.

While many new cars come equipped with in-vehicle information systems, that provide drivers with the ability to talk, text, email and navigate, AAA says these behaviors are highly distracting.

But for senior drivers, the problem is even worse. According to new research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah, advanced vehicle systems produce a much higher mental and visual workload for older drivers than younger ones, AAA Public Affairs Director Matthew Conde explains.

“It's just a matter of technology that they may not be as familiar with, and certainly as they have the opportunity to get more familiar with it, that can improve, but in AAA's testing it just came down to the fact that older drivers reported that it was just very complicated to do,” Conde states.

When it comes to hands-free devices, you really don't want to use those either, no matter how old you are, Conde advised.

“Hands-free can be effective maybe on the visual and manual side of the equation, but we still have that mental workload. And so if people are still thinking about responding and processing information, then certainly their brains can be distracted, even though their eyes might be on the road and their hands on the wheel,” Conde said,

Conde also said that some steps all drivers should do ahead of time, are putting the address of where you are going into your GPS before you start driving, and let people know that you will be driving and will not be answering your phone, texts or emails.

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