If you are like most Illinois residents, you routinely see or hear advertisements for new vehicles that tout a range of advanced technology elements. Some of these things focus on safety, such as automatic braking systems. Other features in vehicles are said to help reduce distracted driving by allowing new ways for drivers to make and take phone calls, receive and respond to text messages, program and follow directions, and more.

Called infotainment systems, these features generally include prominent displays built into the dashboards of vehicles. Some systems may operate based on verbal commands while others may still require some manual interaction on the part of a driver. All will require the mental attention of a driver. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety rated 40 of these systems based on the level of demand they placed on drivers. None of these systems scored well for safety.

Almost three out of four infotainment systems, 29 out of 40 total, were said to place a very high or high demand on drivers. Another 11 systems put moderate demands on drivers. AAA Exchange indicates that only a low demand is truly safe. Demand involves a combination of the mental, visual and manual attention or interaction required from a driver. Programming navigation was the action that required the most demand and time from a driver.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give residents in Illinois an understanding of the things they should consider when shopping for new vehicles and when reviewing the facts after an accident has occurred.