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Study: Seniors especially vulnerable to in-dash distractions

Carmakers are constantly trying to outdo each other, offering new and improved technologies that make driving easier, safer and even more entertaining. For instance, the 2019 Hyundai Veloster offers a “head-up display that projects driving information in the driver’s line of sight.” The Tesla Model 3 offers the company’s “Enhanced Autopilot semi-autonomous driving system,” while the Mercedes A-Class includes a pair of 7-inch screens in its dash – one that includes the vehicle’s instrument read-outs, while the other acts as an infotainment center. There’s good news for those who want even more screen real estate in their dash, however: the screens can be upgraded to 10.25-inch displays.

While the merging of entertainment and information provides sellers with dazzling tech enhancements to prospective buyers, safety advocates worry that an abundance of eye-catching in-dash graphics and read-outs distract drivers from performing their most important duty: driving. A new AAA study shows that seniors in particular struggle with the technology built into the dash in new vehicles – putting themselves and other motorists at risk of being in a distracted driving crash.

"Drivers will shift their attention back and forth from the driving task to the in-vehicle task. If they're taking long glances inside the cabin, that's particularly risky," said a spokesperson for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said.

During tests of the high-tech in-dash features on several new cars, drivers age 55 and up were up to eight seconds slower than millennials (those born1981 to 1996) when using calling and navigation systems.

Of course, keeping your eyes on the dash rather than on the road and on traffic can be extremely dangerous. AAA says that keeping your eyes off the road for even two seconds doubles the risk of a wreck.

If you or a loved one has been harmed in a motor vehicle accident caused by a distracted driver, contact a Monroeville attorney experienced in personal injury litigation.

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