Fleets are being reminded about the dangers to drivers of in-car infotainment screens.

The most modern types of these kind of infotainment systems have touch screens rather than push buttons, so drivers are more likely to spend time with their eyes away from the road when interacting with them. Red Corporate Driver Training has published an advisory paper that includes advice on how to combat the problem, which affects drivers in different ways.

While speeding is a far more direct cause of accidents, infotainment systems are seen as playing an increasingly prominent role in distracting drivers. So much so that Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) will from 2026 only award its maximum 5-star ratings to vehicles with push buttons for certain key operations.

“A driver who is scrolling through multiple sub menus on a screen to operate their vehicle’s systems is almost certainly not going to classify themselves as distracted. But almost certainly, they are,” said Seb Goldin, CEO of Red Corporate Driver Training. “As high-profile recent court cases involving distraction and fatal road accidents have shown, there can be tragic consequences for seemingly innocuous actions undertaken by drivers all the time.

“Their eyes are off the road and mental effort is going into the act of selecting, toggling, scrolling and clicking. Hundreds of metres of driving can have taken place for what are justified actions in the mind of the driver. Yet it is incredibly dangerous,” said Goldin.

Red’s paper looks at each form of distraction in turn, and advises on what drivers can do to handle the immense amount of information and communication at their fingertips. From music playlists to adjusting the temperature of heated seats,  infotainment systems now have a huge range of functionality that can easily overwhelm or consume the attention of drivers, especially on motorways where there may be greater temptation to lower concentration levels.