AAA Study Finds That Hands Free Devices Are Not As Safe as Many Think

The prevalence of distracted driving accidents is a problem of almost epidemic proportions in the United States, and with new and innovative technology coming out every month, remedying this epidemic may not be an easy task. Using cell phones, navigation systems, and Mp3 players behind the wheel increases your chances of being involved in a crash exponentially, and it is against the law in most of the fifty states. Many people believe that hands free devices and voice recognition software is the best way to avoid distraction on the road, but a new study conducted by AAA suggests that this just isn’t true.

These systems, which allow drivers to text and email using only voice commands, have been heavily marketed to car buyers in recent years, and especially to younger demographics, as a safer alternative to hand held electronics. However, the dashboard technology that is now being used in hundreds of different car models throughout the world was actually found to be more distracting than ordinary cell phones.

Data gathered in a recent AAA study found that the hands free devices that translate speech into text are possibly the most distracting piece of technology a driver has to deal with while driving. This is because these tasks require greater concentration on the part of the driver, and this can significantly increase the chances of developing what researchers call “tunnel vision” or “inattention blindness.” When this happens drivers may stop mentally processing what they are looking at on the roadway altogether, ignoring the events unfolding outside their vehicle and hindering their response times. When a driver is traveling at 70 miles per hour, as is the case on many freeways, taking their eyes off the road for even a few seconds could mean driving more than the length of a football field completely blind. Simply put, people aren’t seeing what they need to see to drive.

Police accident investigative reports are filled with comments like “looked, but did not see,” which used to puzzle safety officials, but researchers are now finding out that these incidents may actually be cases of tunnel vision and inattention blindness. As it sits right now, there are roughly 9 million vehicles on the road with these infotainment technology systems, and some officials believe that this number could be as high as 60 million by 2018. AAA officials have recently briefed automakers, and say they would like to limit such in vehicle, voice-driven technologies to only core driving tasks in the future, and the National Safety Council has also called on industry policymakers to reconsider including communication and entertainment technology in their future models. (The Associated Press)

If you or someone you know has been injured because of the negligence of a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. If you think you may have a case, call our Chicago car accident lawyers for a free consultation to explore your legal options.

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