Sat-nav systems 'pose risk to drivers'

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London, Dec 28 (ANI): Satellite navigation devices could prove to be a big distraction for drivers, thus increasing the risk of getting involved in an accident, say researchers.

Previous studies have shown that 78 per cent of crashes were caused by driver inattention.

Psychologists at Lancaster University and Royal Holloway, University of London are planning to conduct a study examining the "potentially dangerous effects of 'SAT NAV' in-car navigation systems."

In the study, researchers will be analysing how drivers handle the information they receive from sat-nav systems and how they respond to it.

Rather than driving a car, volunteers will be given tasks by a computer, which mimics the instructions given by a sat-nav system.

"If we see any worsening of attention or memory performance while people are carrying out the navigation task, this might indicate that the navigation system imposes demands on the participant which could be dangerously distracting", the Telegraph quoted Polly Dalton, one of the researchers involved in the project, as saying.

"By the end of these experiments, we will be able to provide clear measurements of the ways in which the use of in-car navigation systems might interfere with attention and memory performance," Dalton added.

In a survey carried out by Direct Line insurance, one driver in 50 said sat-nav had either caused or nearly caused an accident.

However a spokesman for Tomtom, one of the market leaders in sat -nav devices, denied the technology was distracting drivers.

"We have had two pieces of independent research which show that satellite navigation aids driving behaviour," said the spokesman

"The evidence is that people feel more in control, concentrate on the business of driving and are less stressed," he added. (ANI)

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