Completion Time by Task Type
|Audio Entertainment||Calling and Dialing||Text Messaging||Navigation Entry|
|Younger (21-36 yrs)||18.0 sec||17.7 sec||27.7 sec||31.4 sec|
|Older (55-75 yrs)||25.4 sec||22.4 sec||33.8 sec||40.0 sec|
The complex design of the technology created increased visual and cognitive demand for older drivers. For example, some systems included multiple menus and cumbersome voice command functions that significantly reduced older drivers’ ability to easily complete seemingly simple tasks.
Specific design changes to in-vehicle infotainment systems, like improving voice-command technology, simplifying software menus, removing complex center console controls, and positioning system controls to allow drivers to keep their eyes on the road, would better meet the needs of older adults and make the systems safer for all drivers.
“This is a design problem, not an age problem,” said Jake Nelson, AAA director of traffic safety advocacy and research. “Designing systems to meet the safety and comfort needs of aging drivers would benefit all of us today, and for years to come.”
Personal assessments about distraction caused by in-vehicle technologies are not always accurate. For example, in some cases drivers reported the use of the systems as less demanding even though researchers measured higher levels of demand or longer task completion times.
Whether you purchase a new vehicle, or rent one while traveling, AAA recommends that all drivers, especially older drivers, keep the following tips in mind:
- Avoid interacting with in-vehicle infotainment technology while driving except for legitimate emergencies.
- Practice using the voice command and touch screen functions when not driving to build comfort in case emergency use is required.
- Avoid vehicles that require use of a center console controller when using the infotainment system. These kinds of systems are especially distracting, and potentially dangerous.
A total of 128 drivers ages 21-36 and 55-75 participated in the study of six 2018 model-year vehicles.