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AAA report looks at tech-related distractions

Older Ohio drivers may be at greater risk while using in-vehicle technology than their younger counterparts. A study by the University of Utah and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers who were 55 to 75 were distracted for several seconds longer than drivers who were 21 to 36. AAA says that looking away from the road for two seconds can make a driver twice as likely to have an accident. This could simply involve changing the radio.

This was one of the tasks the 128 study participants were asked to perform. They also texted, dialed phone numbers and navigated using technology. Some systems are more complex and confusing than others, but the head of traffic safety for the AAA said this is a problem with design and not the age of users. Everyone could benefit from streamlined, easy-to-use IVT. However, the AAA's recommendation is also that IVT should only be used by drivers while they are driving if there is an emergency.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that distracted driving was a factor in 3,000 deadly motor vehicle accidents in 2017. While voice-activated systems are supposed to make the use of technology safer, they are often difficult to use and do not recognize voice commands readily. This can be frustrating and dangerous for drivers.

Drivers can also be distracted by other things, such as eating or arguing with someone in the car. Even nonfatal accidents caused by distracted drivers can lead to serious injuries, and if this happens, the driver may be considered financially liable. The driver's insurance company may pay the injured person compensation for medical expenses and other costs, but in some cases, the driver may be underinsured or the insurance company may not offer enough. An attorney might be able to help the injured person get compensation.

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