In a study conducted by AAA, it was found that drivers who utilized hands-free devices such as voice-activated systems in their vehicle, not only had slower reaction time, but also increased levels of distraction. This, despite the fact that 75% of drivers believe that hand-free devices are safe to use while driving.
The study pointed out that the more complex the hands-free system, the more of a distraction the technology was for drivers. A big part of the problem is that much of the time these systems are so error prone that it requires a lot of concentration from the driver in order for the system to work and appropriately respond to voice commands.
AAA isn’t the only company that has spoken out against hands-free devices. Many other advocates of safety have been trying to get this message across for a while. Even though the point of these hands-free devices is to limit distractions while driving, it has been reported that 3,328 individuals were killed last year alone as a result of accidents due to distracted driving. Furthermore, 421,000 individuals were injured in some form as well due to distracted driving.
Let’s face it, do you really need to send a text message, post to social media or update your calendar during your drive time? Rarely, in my opinion, is something that critical or pressing that it needs to be done in that exact instant. The fact of the matter is that driving is dangerous due to all the different factors involved. You are dealing with humans and their potential for error, vehicles and their potential for malfunction, and also the adverse affects of weather in a given situation. The best way to limit potential risk while driving is to be 100% focused on the task at hand. Keep your cell phones tucked away and leave it there for the duration of your trip.
(Photo courtesy of Chris F)