Alabama drivers can use their iPhone in the car thanks to Apple CarPlay. Apple says that this system reduces the distractions that would have arisen if one actually handled the phone, yet a study from the road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has come to a different conclusion: in fact, the opposite conclusion.
For their study, researchers analyzed how drivers act and, in particular, react to various stimuli while using CarPlay’s voice and touch controls. Forty drivers in a simulation participated, 20 with CarPlay and 20 with Android Auto. The results were similar with both systems. Voice and touch controls increased reaction times: CarPlay’s by 36% and 57%, respectively, and Android Auto’s by 30% and 53%, respectively.
Considering how an undistracted driver typically reacts in one second, this may not sound like much. But it’s alarming when one compares the increase to that caused in drivers by texting (35%), hands-free phone use (27%) and marijuana use (21%). Clearly, the new tech is not reducing distraction but rather increasing it.
The reason for this is unclear, so further research is necessary. The authors of the study think that perhaps the extra features on CarPlay may be contributing. It could also stem from the assumption that using a larger, built-in screen is safer than using a smaller, handheld one.
In all its forms, distracted driving is negligent and dangerous. Those involved in car accidents who find out that the other side was distracted may be able to pursue a claim against that driver’s insurance provider. If they contributed at all to the accident, though, victims may be barred from recovering damages. It may be wise, then, to have a lawyer closely evaluate the case. If it’s a strong one, the lawyer may take care of all settlement negotiations.