New AAA Study Shows the Hidden Dangers Hands-Free Vehicle Technologies Pose to Drivers and Other Motorists
We all know about the dangers of distracted driving, such as texting, talking on a cellphone, and eating while driving. These distractions take our eyes of the road and our hands off the steering wheel. So we might assume that hands-free technologies are safer because they only require us to talk and listen. However, a new AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAA) study shows that these technological devices take our minds off our driving too.
How Hands-Free Devices Cause Serious Accidents
The AAA study used 257 drivers from 21 to 70 years old to test devices on certain 2015 motor vehicles and 65 drivers from 21 to 69 years old to test three phone systems. The drivers performed a number of tasks using a voice-activated system, including contact calling, number dialing, and selecting music. Even though the drivers’ hands were on the wheel and their eyes on the road, they were mentally distracted. Key findings of the study include:
- Potentially unsafe cognitive distractions can last up to 27 seconds after calling a person using a cellphone, texting someone, or making a music selection. During this time, a person could drive the length of almost three football fields driving at 25 mph—with the risk of causing a serious accident.
- The use of hands-free technology could be more distracting than talking on a cellphone.
- Older drivers were more distracted than young and middle-aged drivers.
- The Chevy Equinox system and the Google Now app were the best-performing systems resulting in the least amount of cognitive distraction.
This study reinforces the dangers of using any technology while driving. It is always safest to make phone calls, send texts, and select your music before going out on the road.
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