Join AAA
Join AAA


Current news and information regarding government affairs, gas and travel information.

Search below using state and category

Tracy Noble
Public Relations Manager, NJ
O: (609) 570-4131
C: (609) 306-2523


AAA Contact

Tracy E. Noble

Manager, Public and Government Affairs

(609) 570-4131Office

(609) 306-2523Cell


AAA News

High-Tech Gadgets Drive Seniors to Distraction

New AAA Foundation research suggests focusing on older drivers could hold the key to safer in-vehicle technology for everyone

B-Roll Available  

Hamilton, NJ, July 25, 2019 –In-vehicle infotainment systems can increase comfort and mobility for older drivers, but they can also pose many distractions – putting them at risk of a crashIn New Jersey the State Police determined that inattentive driving, also known as distracted driving, was the top cause in 196 fatal crashes in 2017 making it the leading cause for New Jersey traffic fatalities for the sixth year in a row.

New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed that on average, drivers ages 55-75 had their eyes and attention diverted from the road for eight seconds longer than younger drivers (ages 21-36) when performing tasks such as switching the radio station or programming navigation using their vehicles’ infotainment technology. Taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles a driver’s risk of a crash.

“Voice-command functions found in new in-vehicle technology are intended to help drivers by keeping their eyes and attention on the road,” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “Unfortunately, the complexity of some of these systems could cause more harm for older drivers, in particular, instead of helping them.”

By 2030, more than one in five drivers on the road will be over the age of 65. In New Jersey, the number of people 65 and older is estimated at over 1.2 million, according to Census Data.  With seniors becoming the fastest growing demographic in the U.S., finding ways to design technology to improve their comfort and safety is critical and may hold the key to enhancing the safe use of this technology for all drivers.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety partnered with researchers from the University of Utah to measure the visual and cognitive demand created by the infotainment systems in six 2018 vehicles. Study participants in two age groups (21-36 and 55-75) were required to use voice commands, touch screens and other interactive technologies to make a call, send a text message, tune the radio, or program navigation, all while driving.

Researchers found that the technology created potentially unsafe distractions for all drivers, though this safety risk is more pronounced for older adults, who took longer (4.7-8.6 seconds) to complete tasks, experienced slower response times, and increased visual distractions.

Completion Time by Task Type


Audio Entertainment

Calling and Dialing

Text Messaging

Navigation Entry

Younger (21-36 years)

18.0 sec

17.7 sec

27.7 sec

31.4 sec

Older (55-75 years)

25.4 sec

22.4 sec

33.8 sec

40.0 sec

While these actions created unsafe distractions for all drivers, the safety risk was especially pronounced for older adults. Older drivers took longer (4.7-8.6 seconds) to complete tasks, had slower response times and were more visually distracted than their younger counterparts. Many older drivers struggled with the infotainment systems’ complex designs, which often featured multiple menus and cumbersome voice command functions.

Specific design changes to in-vehicle infotainment systems, like improving voice-command technology, simplifying software menus, removing complex center console controls, and positioning system controls to allow drivers to keep their eyes on the road, would better meet the needs of older adults and make the systems safer for all drivers.

“This is a design problem, not an age problem,” Noble added.  “Designing systems to meet the safety and comfort needs of aging drivers would benefit all of us today, and for years to come.”

Whether you purchase a new vehicle, or rent one while traveling, AAA recommends that all drivers, especially older drivers, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Avoid interacting with in-vehicle infotainment technology while driving except for legitimate emergencies.
  • Practice using the voice command and touch screen functions when not driving to build comfort in case emergency use is required.
  • Avoid vehicles that require use of a center console controller when using the infotainment system. These kinds of systems are especially distracting, and potentially dangerous.

AAA has made traffic safety a priority since 1921, working to make roads, vehicles and drivers safer. In AAA’s most recent “Don’t Drive Intoxicated—Don’t Drive Intexticated” campaign AAA is committed to changing attitudes and behaviors surrounding the deadly problem of distracted driving.

AAA encourages all motorists to eliminate distracted driving by following these tips:

  • Know where you’re going. If using a navigation system, program the destination before driving.
  • Put it away. Place your mobile device out of sight to prevent temptation.
  • Pull over. If you have to call or text while on the road, pull off the road safely and stop first.
  • Ask passengers for help. If riding with someone, seek his or her help to navigate, make a call or send a message.
  • Be a good passenger. Speak out if the driver of your vehicle is distracted.
  • Don’t be a distraction.  Avoid calling or texting others when you know they are driving.

Pledge now. The multi-faceted “Don’t Drive Intoxicated—Don’t Drive Intexticated” traffic safety campaign is crafted to empower people change their behavior. For this reason, AAA Mid-Atlantic is encouraging the motoring public to take the pledge to prevent distracted driving. Drivers can go online at to join us in our pledge to not drive Intexticated.

About the study. A total of 128 drivers ages 21-36 and 55-75 participated in the study of six 2018 model-year vehicles. The latest report is the seventh phase of distraction research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Visit to learn more.



AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and nearly two million members in New Jersey.AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app ( for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit 

AAA Mid-Atlantic News is on Facebook - please Like us!

Follow us on Twitter@AAANJNEWS



public affairs

Keeping Member's interests at the forefront

Contacts by region

fuel price finder

Find the lowest gas price in your area

Find prices

gas information

Tools, tips and other resources

learn more


Local news stories & information

Watch now