Much has been written in Ohio about how the popularity of mobile electronic devices has led to a surge in distracted driving accidents. However, a recent study from the University of Utah suggests that the navigation and entertainment systems found in most new cars may actually be more dangerous to road users than smartphones. The study, which was conducted on behalf of the Automobile Association of America’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, was based on an analysis of how participants used the information and entertainment systems of 30 2017 model year vehicles.

Texting while behind the wheel is often portrayed as the greatest threat to road safety to emerge over the last decade. However, the University of Utah researchers found that entering an address into a vehicle navigation system while moving was far more dangerous than reading or writing text messages. Participants spent 40 seconds on average to complete this task, which is concerning because research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that accident risks double when drivers take their eyes off the road for only two seconds.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University discovered that electronic devices impair spatial brain functions, which take notice of our surroundings and warn us of developing dangers, by as much as 37 percent. Not surprisingly, police agencies around the country are using technology of their own to identify and prosecute distracted drivers who cause accidents, injuries and deaths.

Lawmakers in Ohio have yet to ban the use of cellphones by drivers, but that doesn’t mean that motorists who cause accidents while using mobile devices are able to avoid civil sanctions. An attorney could use evidence of distracted driving to establish negligence in a lawsuit brought on behalf of a car accident victim.