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Older drivers often distracted by in-vehicle tech

Older drivers in California tend to be more distracted by in-vehicle technology than those who are younger, according to a new study published on July 25. Unfortunately, this problem could increase the risk of getting into a car accident.

For the study, researchers from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah had 128 drivers use in-vehicle GPS and infotainment systems from various 2018 vehicles, including models manufactured by Audi, Cadillac, Lincoln, Mazda, Nissan and Volvo. The drivers were asked to complete a series of tasks with the systems, such as making phone calls, inputting navigation destinations, texting and changing radio stations. The researchers found that drivers between the ages of 55 and 75 took up to 8.6 seconds longer to complete the tasks than drivers between the ages of 21 and 36. Older drivers were also slower to react to system commands, which caused them to take their eyes off the street longer than younger drivers. The authors of the study say their findings suggest that manufacturers need to design their in-vehicle information systems to be less confusing for drivers of all ages.

AAA reports that drivers who take their sight off the street for two seconds double their chances of getting in a car wreck. Meanwhile, statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that distracted drivers caused over 3,000 deaths across the U.S. in 2017. Approximately 20% of all drivers are expected to be 65 or older by 2030, according to AAA.

Someone who has been hurt by the actions of a distracted driver could be eligible to receive compensation for a variety of damages, including current and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, property loss and mental anguish. An attorney could represent a victim's interests in court and fight for a fair settlement.

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