Drivers in New York who use hand-held cellphones while behind the wheel can be ticketed and fined, but research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests that entering navigation settings or adjusting audio controls on the latest cars can be just as dangerous. The organization came to this conclusion after tasking researchers from the University of Utah to find out how distracting modern automobile navigation and entertainment systems are. This was done by asking volunteers to drive vehicles made by Ford, Dodge, Honda, General Motors and Kia.

After observing the 64 participants answer phone calls, send text messages, enter addresses and adjust entertainment settings, the researchers noticed that all of the vehicle technology was difficult to use. They then asked the students to perform the same tasks after connecting the vehicle entertainment and navigation systems to cellphones using the Apple Carplay and Android Auto applications. While these apps reduced the amount of time it took to complete most tasks, the researchers say that relying on them could still leave drivers dangerously distracted in many situations.

Many drivers use turn-by-turn navigation features on a daily basis, but the AAA research indicates that they would be wise to pull over before entering an address. The participants took an average of 40 seconds to complete this task when using vehicle electronic systems directly and 33 seconds when cellphones were used to enter the information. That is enough time for a car traveling at highway speeds to cover more than half a mile.

When their clients may have been injured by a distracted driver but police reports fail to reach any firm conclusions, experienced car accident attorneys may seek other evidence to establish negligence in car accident lawsuits. Automobile data recorders could reveal that no attempts to avoid a collision were made, and cellphone records may show that motorists were accessing the internet, making phone calls or texting when they crashed.