7 On Your Side, Consumer Reports have tips to avoid distracted driving

Michael Finney Image
Friday, January 12, 2018
Car crash deaths are on the rise, and many experts believe driver distraction from smartphones remains a problem.
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Car crash deaths are on the rise, and many experts believe driver distraction from smartphones remains a problem.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Car crash deaths are on the rise, and many experts believe smartphones are to blame.

Distracted driving can also be a result of in-car infotainment systems, controlling the temperature, or just taking your eyes off the road.

In a partnership with Consumer Reports, 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney examine some of the newer remedies that can help keep you safer.

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Using a smartphone, while driving, is a big no-no, but many people do it anyway.

In a recent survey, Consumer Reports found 52-percent of licensed drivers who own a smartphone texted, played music, browsed the web, sent emails, or watched videos.

Many smartphone and tech companies are introducing safety measures for teens and adults while driving.

Apple's operating system includes a mode which blocks alerts for both calls and texts. You can also download apps for iPhones or Androids which allow users to set-up automatic replies to incoming calls or texts. Some phone companies offer similar driving apps. But all of these are voluntary.

To play it safe, Consumer Reports says pair your phone, put it out of sight, and use the voice command features in your car.

"Distracted driving, however, is not limited just to smartphones. Many newer car models have infotainment systems that can contribute to drivers taking their eyes off the road," said Jon Linkov, Consumer Reports Auto Editor.

Consumer Reports even rates them on ease of use, including how much they distract drivers, and factors that into their overall car ratings.

"Ironically, at the same time, many car manufacturers are also developing newer technologies designed to make new cars safer," adds Linkov.

For instance, there are lane departure and collision warning systems. There are also automatic emergency braking systems to help distracted drivers avoid dangerous situations.

These can be useful, but Consumer Reports says nothing beats keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

Many states have adopted texting bans and other laws to combat distracted driving but whether that's enough to make a difference is unclear.

Click here to find out more information on Consumer Reports' tire testing.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org.

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