Many people are aware of the risks of texting while driving. However, cell phones are not the only source of distraction that drivers can face, and potentially distracting technology is built into many vehicles. How might the devices built into a vehicle create risks on the road?

How can in-vehicle devices create distractions?

The Centers for Disease Control identify three different forms of distraction: manual, visual and cognitive. Manual distractions are any distractions that take a driver’s hands from the wheel and make it more difficult to control the vehicle if hazards arise. Visual distractions take a driver’s eyes from the road and limit their ability to see other cars, uneven pavement and other things around them. Cognitive distractions take a driver’s focus away from operating their vehicle.

Depending on the task a driver performs, in-vehicle devices can create all three of these distractions. For example, adjusting navigation software may require a driver to take their hands off the wheel and both their eyes and their concentration off the complex task of driving.

Even answering a phone hands-free using in-vehicle technology can create significant cognitive distractions. While their hands may stay on the wheel, drivers holding a phone conversation while operating a vehicle may be less likely to notice important details like traffic lights or stop signs.

Drivers distracted by these devices and other factors may drift across the center line, drive at inconsistent speeds or make sudden changes. This erratic behavior can put others at risk. People injured by a distracted driver may want to explore legal options that can offer financial support and the opportunity to hold negligent drivers responsible for their distraction.