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Hands-free options for texting and making phone calls while driving are a big trend in the auto industry right now. However, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has recently found that these hands-free technologies still increase the driver’s mental distractions, thus slowing reaction times and disrupting brain function. According to researchers, hands-free texting and calling can cause drivers to scan the road less and maybe even miss objects right in front of them, like stop lights or even pedestrians.
The AAA Foundation study focused solely on the impact of mental distraction on driving. Their study included 150 drivers. These drivers were analyzed while partaking in eight various distracting activities while driving on a driving simulator.
After measuring brain waves, eye movement, and other metrics, researchers were able to find that as a driver’s mental workload increased, their reaction time slowed and their field of vision narrowed.
Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said, “This is a reminder to the general public that distracted driving is real… Three out of four drivers believe that hands-free is better than handheld. But hands-free is not risk-free, and we now have new evidence that clearly demonstrates that.”
On the other hand, some question the validity of the AAA Foundation’s study. Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics association, is one of those people. According to Shapiro, “We believe this AAA-sponsored study suffers from a number of methodology flaws, and, as a result, its broad conclusions about voice-to-text technology should be questioned… This study could hardly be considered naturalistic as it relied on young drivers in unfamiliar cars, wearing a type of helmet and driving on a defined course when compared to studies which track real drivers in real situations.”
Distracted driving is a serious hazard to other drivers on the road. If you or somebody you know has been injured due to another driver’s distracted actions, do not hesitate to contact an Illinois personal injury attorney to assist you.