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Study: Apple CarPlay more distracting than texting

| Mar 26, 2020 | Car Accidents |

The U.K.-based safety charity IAM RoadSmart has conducted a study on Apple CarPlay, a system that allows drivers to access an iPhone without touching it. Tennessee residents should know that contrary to what Apple has said about the safety benefits of CarPlay, the study found that drivers become much slower in reacting when using the system.

As part of the study, 40 participants (20 using CarPlay and 20 using Android Auto) were asked to drive a standard route in a simulator three times: once without using the systems, once while using voice assist and once while using touch controls. CarPlay’s voice and touch controls made drivers 36% and 57% slower in their reaction times, respectively.

This made the system more distracting than texting, which the study says slows a driver’s reaction times by 35%. It’s also more dangerous than using a hands-free phone (27%) or driving while high on marijuana (21%). The study’s authors say that further research is needed to understand the reason for this. For example, drivers may become more distracted because they assume that a built-in system is safer.

The results are not necessarily surprising since even listening to the radio causes inattention. However, researchers say that Apple should work to improve CarPlay’s safety.

Ultimately, though, drivers are responsible for their own conduct and cannot blame technology for negligent behavior like distracted driving. The victim of a car accident can file a claim against a negligent, at-fault driver, but they may want a lawyer to evaluate the case first under Tennessee’s comparative negligence rule. If hired, the lawyer may help strengthen the case with evidence gathered by crash investigators. The lawyer could speak on a victim’s behalf for a settlement either at the negotiation table or in the courtroom.