IAM RoadSmart, the largest safety charity in the U.K., has released the results of a study showing how drivers become slow in their reactions when using Apple CarPlay. California residents should know that CarPlay is a system that allows drivers to use their iPhone as part of their vehicle’s infotainment system, thus obviating the need to hold the phone. The study challenges Apple’s claim that CarPlay reduces distraction.
Forty drivers were involved in the study with 20 using CarPlay and 20 using Android Auto. They were told to travel a certain route three times in a simulation. During the second and third time, the drivers were asked to use their respective systems’ voice assistant and touch controls. Throughout the experiment, the simulator tracked drivers’ gaze, assessed their ability to stay in their lane and keep a safe speed and measured their reaction times.
Reaction times were 57% slower when drivers used CarPlay’s touch control to carry out tasks. They were 36% slower when they used its voice assistant. Compare this to the 35% increase in reaction times when drivers text and the 21% increase when drivers are high on marijuana.
CarPlay can be improved in various ways, though. For example, Apple could have it disable some of its more distracting features when it senses the vehicle is in motion.
These preventative measures can never be 100% effective, of course, since the final decision is with drivers whether they want to be negligent behind the wheel or not. Victims of motor vehicle accidents at least have the assurance that they can seek compensatory damages from the negligent driver’s auto insurance company. They may have a lawyer negotiate on their behalf for a fair settlement that covers medical expenses, vehicle repair or replacement costs, loss of income and pain and suffering.