WILMINGTON, Del. — Infotainment systems in automobiles may help drivers stay plugged in, but they can also cause them to zone out.

That’s the conclusion from new research on distracted driving released Thursday by AAA’s Center for Driving Safety and Technology.

In the study, University of Utah researchers found that drivers using in-vehicle technologies like voice-based and touchscreen features could be visually and mentally distracted for more than 40 seconds when completing tasks like programming navigation or sending a text message.

Researchers say removing eyes from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk of a crash.

AAA Mid-Atlantic says Delaware State Police reported almost 6,100 crashes last year in which driver inattention, distraction, or fatigue was a contributing factor. That’s an increase of almost 11 percent over 2015.

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