FRIDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- Searching for a favorite
song on your MP3 player in the car can lead to distracted driving,
About 90 percent of new vehicles sold in the United States have
MP3 connectivity and makers of aftermarket MP3 controllers make
devices claimed to decrease driver distraction. But these devices
may actually increase driver distraction, according to the new
The study included 50 people aged 18 to 25 who used either an
MP3 player or an aftermarket controller to search for specific
songs in playlists of varying lengths while operating a driving
Drivers who searched through long playlists (580 songs) glanced
away from the road more often and for longer periods of time than
those who searched through shorter playlists. The aftermarket
controller was found to lengthen, not shorten, the drivers' glances
away from the road.
The findings appear in
Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics
"As seen in this study, these aftermarket devices do not always have the expected effect," researcher John Lee, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in a journal news release.
"New technology in the car often seems like familiar old technology, such as a radio, but is often much more likely to distract," Lee noted. "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."
Despite numerous education campaigns and laws aimed at reducing
distracted driving, the problem may actually be getting worse,
recent figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has more