MP3s can lead to distracted driving

April 17, 2012 12:00 AM

Many drivers love to listen to music while they're cruising down the road, and automakers have responded by offering MP3 technology in the newest vehicles. However, new research suggests that this feature could be distracting drivers from the road.

A new study published by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society found that those who use MP3 devices in their cars are at more of a risk for an accident than those who use a radio. This is because MP3 devices, even when integrated with the car, often sort songs by long lists - and choosing a particular song results in less time looking at the road. The study found that among 50 drivers asked to use both radio and MP3 in-car devices, the MP3 users looked away from the road for longer periods of time, and far more frequently.

"New technology in the car often seems like familiar old technology, such as a radio, but is often much more likely to distract," said lead author John Lee. "A simple task of selecting a song from a list can seduce you into looking away from the road longer than you might have intended, and long looks away from the road can kill."

While human behavior is critical to avoiding accidents, mechanical flaws can also lead to collisions. Regular auto maintenance can help drivers correct any critical car repairs and ensure their vehicle is safe on the road.

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