GPS Nav May Be Dangerous Distraction

A British auto insurance company said on Tuesday that in-car GPS navigation systems might be doing more harm than good by distracting drivers. Even more surprising, the company's findings suggest that navigation systems could be more disruptive than trying to read a map at the wheel.

The findings, released by Privilege Insurance, showed that 19 percent of drivers who used their GPS lost concentration while driving, compared to 17 percent of map readers.

Possibly to blame is the fact that one in ten drivers with navigation systems do not input a route before leaving. Furthermore, half of those drivers admit that they have actually attempted to enter a route while driving.

Nearly one in eight say they rely solely on GPS to get to their destination without checking the route first. While the technology for the most part is accurate, occasionally there are mistakes that could put the driver in danger, such as driving the wrong way on a one-way street.

Distracted drivers and heavy reliance on navigation systems have already been parodied by the American insurance industry. Nationwide Auto Insurance ran a commercial spot in late 2005 showing a distracted driver who ends up driving through a coffee shop window because he relied too much on his GPS.

However, such an issue is no laughing matter to the insurance companies. "Our research shows even satellite navigation equipment, if used incorrectly, can lead to driver danger," Privilege's managing director said in a statement.

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