27 Seconds

Car manufacturers are fast including infotainment systems in their new cars, systems that usually make available to a dashboard screens what smartphones can do. Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Mazda, Chevrolet, Hyundai and others are all making sure their vehicles have the kind of technology that promises what is being called a connected lifestyle. Look up Apple’s CarPlay or Google’s Android Auto and you’ll get an idea. All this at a time when the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety tells us as you might have heard that most uses of infotainment systems can leave a driver distracted for up to 27 seconds. Almost half a minute is a lot of time for trouble! We’ve all seen people who text and drive, or even been in a car when the driver is texting, but this is more than that. We can say using the car radio is safe, we can say using GPS is safe, we can say talking on the phone is safe, but when we put all this together and then factor in the possibility of texting, maybe looking up a stock quote or peek over at a passenger looking at a game, we need to ask do we want to be on the road with such drivers? And if we don’t are we willing to change our behavior, to delay a bit of gratification, to not be 100% connected for a small amount of time? It’s easy to understand the pull to use all this technology in a car, how often do we get stuck in traffic? And most cities now have traffic woes. It’s easy also to understand the motive of car manufacturers. The question remains, what are we going to do? How do we plan to handle all of these systems and the apps that can come with them ? If some of this technology is not already in our cars, it will soon be, and we must prepare ourselves. The AAA Foundation feels that car makers should develop infotainment systems that will require no more attention on our part than a car radio or an audio book. That can be used as a guide if we allow ourselves to be strong enough.