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Study Finds Satellite Navigation More Dangerous Than Texting While Driving

Updated on: 10/12/2021

It’s arguably one of the most popular features on new vehicles – and can save you major headaches – but satellite navigation systems cause car accidents at a rate higher than texting and driving, according to a University of Utah study funded by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

In-vehicle information systems – which often include features such as SatNav, MP3 players, radios, and messaging – take drivers’ attention away from the road. While there’s mountains of data that show how dangerous texting and driving is, the University of Utah study found that SatNav is more dangerous.

“With the best intentions, we will put some technology in the car that we think will make the car safer, but people being people will use that technology in ways that we don’t anticipate,” said psychology professor David Strayer, lead researcher on the study. “Greater consideration should be given to what manufacturers install in cars in order to make them more appealing to drivers.”

The study looked at 120 drivers ages 21 to 36 using 2017 model-year vehicles. Thirty (30) vehicle “infotainment” systems were tested. Distracted was found to be “very high” on 12 systems, “high” on 11 and “moderate” on seven. 

According to the study, here’s the most distracting things you can do while driving:

Most distracting: Programming satellite navigation devices
Second-most distracting: Texting
Third-most distracting: Changing music and making phone calls

Just How Dangerous Is Satellite Navigation?

Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that a driver’s risk of an accident doubles when their eyes are off the road for 2 seconds. Consider how dangerous programming a navigation device – a task that takes an average of 40 seconds, according to the study.

Twelve of the 30 vehicles studied allowed drivers to program directions while operating the car. 

The study also found that drivers using voice-based and in-vehicle touchscreens took their eyes, hands, and mind off the road for more than 24 seconds to complete tasks.

Distracted Driving In Washington State

While there’s no federal law that bans cell phone use while driving, Washington State has adopted its own statewide ban. Drivers are not allowed to hold electronic devices such as phones in their hands at all while they are on the road. They are allowed “minimal use” of a finger on their device if it’s a quick tap to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function. This means that you can still use your cell phone to play music or check GPS directions, but your phone must be at your side or in a dashboard cradle, not in your hand.

In 2016, there were a total of 12,314 accidents involving distracted drivers in Washington state. Of those, 199 resulted in a suspected serious injury, while 77 were fatal. Nationally, 3,477 died in “distracted-affected” crashes in 2015. Distracted driving has reached epidemic levels in the United States.

Involved In A Distracted Driving Crash?

A person who is injured in a car accident may lose months, if not years, of wages, in addition to paying medical bills for long hospital stays and physical therapy. In addition to these challenges, the insurance companies can be uncooperative and intimidating. Insurance adjusters are trained to limit their losses by paying out as little as possible in settlements.

Attorney Chris Davis and the team of experienced car accident attorneys at Davis Law Group, P.S., have decades of legal experience in personal injury law and helping people who have been injured litigate auto insurance claims. Davis Law Group cannot undo the injuries that you have suffered, but we can make sure that whoever caused the accident is held accountable.

Davis Law Group is familiar with the many tactics insurance companies employ to deny you the fair compensation you deserve. Please call today at (206) 727-4000, use the chat feature below or fill out the contact form on this page for a free case evaluation.

Chris Davis
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Chris Davis is the founder of Davis Law Group, P.S. in Seattle, WA.
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