Hands-free phones still come with fair share of distraction

Posted By Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge || Jun 15, 2013

There are plenty of drivers in Tennessee who probably drive around using a hands-free phone thinking they are being safer. There are those too who use voice command systems to do things such as send an email or text, or turn on the windshield wipers.

However, while automakers are excited about voice command options and infotainment systems that will do everything from update Facebook to order a pizza, a recent AAA study found these hands-free options are just as dangerous as using an actual hand-held device. This is rather alarming, considering the fact the auto industry seems to see these devices as the way of the future. In fact, according to a spokeswoman for AAA, there are currently 9 million vehicles with infotainment systems. By 2018 this number will increase to 62 million.

The issue is that with speech-to-text systems and other voice command options, while a driver is able to still keep their hands on the steering wheel and their eyes on the road, their minds tend to be more concentrated than if they were just talking on a cellphone or to a passenger. This greater level of concentration means drivers could be paying more attention to getting their emails or text messages sent then to their surroundings while driving. These types of driving distractions could then lead to accidents

Of course auto manufacturers are not happy with this study, with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers not necessarily buying into the study. The association claims it could lead to people thinking hands-free is just as dangerous as hands-held.

However, it should be noted that other studies comparing hands-free to hand-held have found hands-free to be just as dangerous, or nearly as dangerous, as hand-held phones.

What this means is that drivers need to be 100 percent honest with themselves about their level of distraction when using a hand-held or a hands-free device. If distraction is a problem, the idea is to pull over or wait to make that phone call or send that text message.

Categories: Car Accidents
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