In-car infotainment systems can impair your driving more with the maximum blood-alcohol limit of 0.05, according to a recent study conducted by a UK-based driver training advocate.
Using a smartphone mirroring system like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can also result in drivers keeping their eyes off the road for extended periods of time - something that these systems are supposedly engineered to prevent.
A study was conducted with 20 participants over three simulated journeys: one where the driver didn't interact with any system; a second when the driver only used voice controls; and a third where the driver only used touch control.
Findings show that driver reaction times decrease by up to 45 per cent more when using Apple Carplay on a multimedia screen than if your blood alcohol limit is 0.05 (41 per cent for Android Auto).
It has long been a myth that texting is one of the biggest driver distractions on our roads; however, statistics from this experiment show that this was much further down the list.
Texting makes a driver react 35 per cent more slowly, with voice-controlled Apple Carplay higher on the list and the good old handheld phone at a whopping 46 per cent.
As well, participants underestimated the time they thought they spent looking away from the road by as much as five seconds when engaging with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay via touch control. Use of either system via touch control caused drivers to take their eyes off the road for longer than 12 seconds at a time.
“While previous research indicates that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto perform better than more traditional buttons and controls, the results from this latest study raise some serious concerns about the development and use of the latest in-vehicle infotainment systems," said Neil Greig, the policy and research director at IAM RoadSmart.
"Anything that distracts a driver’s eyes or mind from the road is bad news for road safety. We’re now calling on industry and government to openly test and approve such systems and develop consistent standards that genuinely help minimise driver distraction.”
In the meantime, drivers are encouraged to set up their systems prior to the vehicle moving to ensure that all safety measures are being exercised.