Dashboard distractions built in to some new cars

FRESNO, Calif.

With Audi's new Audi Connect system, you can check weather reports and gas prices while driving. Ford's Sync System can read text messages to you. More and more cars allow you to stay connected. But Consumer Reports says that's a problem if it leads to more driver distraction.

Another source of distraction is complicated controls. For example, on the BMW 750i, Consumer Reports found that tuning in a radio station is a six-step process. Even in a parked car, it takes a full 10 seconds.

Voice controls can help, and it's easier to use the vehicle controls rather than the small buttons and screens on your iPod or cell phone. Still, Consumer Reports says that it's no excuse for manufacturers to make otherwise simple controls overly complicated. You want your focus to be on the road, where it belongs.

More connected cars are coming. Toyota's new Entune system, which will begin showing up this fall, allows drivers to search the Web. And in some Ford vehicles, you can even receive Twitter updates.

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