It appears distracted driving is getting worse.
Fatal crashes are on the rise in the USA, and distracted driving is a major reason for the increase, the foundation believes.
"The surprise here is that these are technologies built and marketed as making us safe and less distracted behind the wheel", notes Jake Nelson, AAA's Director of Traffic Safety and Research. And it's becoming more complicated to use.
According to a study by the American Automobile Association Foundation, usually the driver of a vehicle moving at the speed of 25 miles per hour takes somewhere around 40 seconds to program the navigation system of the auto. None of the systems generated "low" distraction, according to the researchers.
Infotainment systems in automobiles may help drivers stay plugged in, but they can also cause them to zone out.
Known as "infotainment centers", these touch screen panels require drivers to look at the screen for longer periods than a traditional radio would.
Study participants were required to use voice command, touch screen and other interactive technologies to make a call, send a text message, tune the radio or program navigation, all while driving down the road, in 30 new 2017 vehicles. "Automakers have developed vehicle-integrated systems, to which portable electronics may be connected, that are created to be used in the driving environment and require driver attention that is comparable to tuning the radio or adjusting climate controls, which have always been considered baseline acceptable behaviors while driving".
When driving at 25 miles per hour, a driver can travel the length of four football fields during the time it could take to enter a destination in navigation.
There were 11 vehicles rated "high" through the testing, including: Cadillac XT5 Luxury, Chevrolet Traverse LT, Dodge Ram 1500, Ford Fusion Titanium, Hyundai Sonata Base, Infiniti Q50 Premium, Jeep Compass Sport, Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, Kia Sorento LX, Nissan Maxima SV and Toyota Rav 4 XLE.