"The workload associated with these new systems is very high", Dr. Strayer says.
AAA has released some shocking new research on distracted driving and infotainment systems.
A total of 120 drivers ages 21-36 participated in the study of 30 new 2017 model-year vehicles. The tasks included making calls, sending a text message, changing the radio and programming navigation while driving. In a vehicle that is traveling at a speed of just 25 miles per hour, that driver would have motored the length of around three football fields before in the time it takes to configure the in-car navigation.
Programming a destination into in-vehicle GPS navigation systems was the most distracting activity, taking drivers an average of 40 seconds to complete the task.
"We're off the rails in terms of the level of distractions we're seeing", he said. "When an in-vehicle technology is not properly designed, simple tasks for drivers can become complicated and require more effort from drivers to complete".
With one in three USA adults using infotainment systems while driving, AAA cautions drivers that using these technologies while behind the wheel can have unsafe consequences. The researchers also concluded that frustration from trying to use hard systems leads to even more driver distraction.
The study found, for instance, that something as common as entering navigation information could distract a driver for as much as 40 seconds when using some of the latest vehicle tech.
Hands-free technology doesn't mean risk free. He's been examining the impact of infotainment systems on safety since 2013.
Under pressure from the industry, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2012 issued voluntary safety guidelines to automakers for dashboard technology instead of enforceable safety standards.
The guidelines also recommend automakers prevent drivers from texting while driving, but three-quarters of the vehicles tested permit drivers to text while the auto is moving.
"Automakers should aim to reduce distractions by designing systems that are no more visually or mentally demanding than listening to the radio or an audiobook", said Doney.
A warning is out about the new high-tech gadgets in the cars we drive.
For more about distracted driving, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.