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In-car navigation systems can be dangerous, report warns

Don't touch that dial (while driving), says Privilege Insurance

By Reuters
February 21, 2006 12:00 PM ET

Reuters - Fiddling around with in-car satellite navigation systems is causing motorists to lose concentration on the road, according to a survey released today by Privilege Insurance in England.

The new technology, rather than helping motorists, could be even more distracting than trying to read a map at the wheel, it said.

One in 10 motorists with navigation systems set off on their journeys without bothering to program their route, and more than half admitted that they then had to take their eyes off the road to input the details while driving.

Nearly one in eight did not even bother to check out a route they were unfamiliar with and simply relied on the technology to get them to their destination.

In addition, almost one in four motorists said they had read maps while driving -- although research suggested that this might not be quite so distracting.

The survey of almost 2,000 people found that 19% of drivers who used their navigation system lost concentration, compared with 17% who were distracted while reading a map.

The survey said most motorists who used either resource while driving would take their eyes off the road for 10 seconds, which at 60 miles an hour would equate to traveling about twice the length of a football field.

"Our research shows even satellite navigation equipment, if used incorrectly, can lead to driver danger," said Ian Parker, Privilege's managing director.

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