SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - “We tell them to learn the technology very well in your driveway or familiar routes before you use it on the road,” said Wanda Jackson.
Jackson is a program coordinator for Sarasota Memorial Hospital, and she’s in charge of the driver evaluation and rehabilitation program at their Clark Road facility, to help drivers regain or maintain independence on the roads.
“The driving is affected as well by medication, slower response time, cognition, medication, we just want to make sure everyone is up to date and safe on the road,” she said.
But the AAA Foundation for Traffic recently released a new study that finds older drivers tend to be more distracted than younger drivers.
It says on average, drivers 55- to 75-years old take their eyes off the road for more than eight seconds more often than drivers ages 21 to 36, as they’re performing simple tasks like programming navigation, or tuning the radio.
“The main point here is not to be messing with technology while you’re behind the wheel regardless of what it is. Don’t be sending text messages or spend time to dial someone’s phone number or even programming your GPS while you’re behind the wheel. Your focus should be on driving,” said AAA spokesperson Mark Jenkins.
According to the AAA, taking your eyes off the road for two seconds can double the risk of crashing.
“People are going to be using voice to text technology as now Florida has instituted a law that makes it illegal to text and drive. I think this is a very good piece of research that shows that even if it’s voice command, even if the phone is not in your hands, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not going to be distracted," he said.
That’s why driving programs urge drivers to plan other ways to navigate their own technology systems.
“Be very aware on how many seconds they take their eyes off the road, to look at that technology. We also say, let the passenger run the technology,” said Jackson.
You can see the full report from AAA here.