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Distracted driver study: In-vehicle tech impacts older drivers

Distracted driving is a concern in Florida and throughout the United States. Given the number of people who operate vehicles as distracted drivers and the frequency of auto accidents because of this behavior, researchers examine the problem and seek solutions for it. While this is usually linked to texting and driving and using a cellphone for other purposes, there are many ways in which a driver can be distracted. That includes the technology installed in new vehicles.

A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic researched this issue and found that there is a certain segment of the population that is negatively impacted by in-vehicle technology. According to the study, younger drivers are adapting to the new technology more easily than older drivers. People between the ages of 55 and 75 are taking their eyes off of the road for more than eight seconds longer than drivers who are 21 to 36 as they use devices to change the radio, for navigation and for other reasons.

A spokesman for AAA says that drivers should not just avoid using their cellphones when driving, but they should not use any type of technology for any reason. Simply removing the focus from the road for two seconds can multiply the chance of an accident by two. Since Florida has implemented laws making texting and driving illegal, drivers are using voice technology to send their messages. However, this too can be distracting. Because older people tend to have slower reaction time and find it difficult to multitask behind the wheel and remain safe, the systems are causing a greater danger of a crash.

Although automakers are trying to make the roads safer with these innovations, it is not a simple task to program and use them. Older people particularly have trouble with them and it causes a distraction by itself even as they use it specifically to avoid being distracted by using a cellphone. After any kind of car accident, there can be significant changes to a person's life with medical costs, lost time on the job, extensive treatment programs and even a loss of life. Injured victims will need to know their legal options after distracted driving car accidents.

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