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2 New Systems Could Introduce Safer Phone Use While Driving

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Posted at 5:15 PM, Jul 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-30 19:40:16-04

(CONSUMER REPORTS) - Lots of people have used their smartphones while driving. Seven in ten were texting, taking selfies, and even using social media, according to a recent AT&T study. Government data showed hundreds of people each year have been killed in car accidents involving cell phones.

Consumer Reports checked out two new infotainment systems designed to work with your phone and your car so that drivers can keep their eyes on the road. They’re Apple CarPlay, compatible with the iPhone, and Android Auto, compatible with Android phones. Most carmakers would be offering both in their upcoming models.

The systems provided hands-free calling and texting. They also offered navigation that runs right off your phone, allowing you to access your addresses. And every time your phone’s software is upgraded, so is the system.

Another option was to mount your phone on the dashboard. You do get the same functionality; what you don’t get is the bigger screen and all of the integration into your car.

Consumer Reports’ electronics and auto experts found that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were still distracting, but they’re far less distracting than actually picking up your phone and using it while you drive.

Both systems were set to be in many cars soon, including the 2016 Chevy Tahoe, Volkswagen Jetta, and Cadillac ATS.

One downside of using any infotainment system that’s connected to your phone: data usage. Navigation and streaming music such as Pandora or Spotify all eat away at your data plan.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org