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Hands-Free Isn’t Risk-Free

January 30, 2020
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The devastating impact of distracted driving in our communities can not be understated. We all know, through both the news and first-hand accounts, how tragic these accidents can be.

More recently, many legislators have considered hands-free technology as a practical solution for distracted driving. Many advocates for non-distracted driving have questions regarding the safety of hands-free electronic devices in the driver’s seat. Research has found what many of us have believed all along, that hands-free driving is anything but risk-free.

Studies Show the Risks of Hands-Free 

Hands-Free Isn’t Risk-FreeAccording to a new study conducted by the University of Utah and AAA, mental distraction can negatively impact driving just as much as a physical distraction. Hands-free cell phones and other electronic devices fail to prevent or even reduce distracted driving. One study found that using voice-activated technology for cell phones, even for motorists whose hands remain on the wheel, reduced reaction times, compromised brain functions, and caused drivers to miss visual cues from their surroundings.

The six tasks studied were:

  • Listening to a radio
  • Listening to an audiobook
  • Talking with a passenger
  • Talking on a hand-held phone
  • Talking on a hands-free phone
  • Interacting with a speech-to-text messaging system

In the study, participants performed the listed tasks above under the following scenarios:

  • without driving
  • in a high-fidelity simulator
  • in an instrumented vehicle

Brainwave activity, reaction times, workloads, rake reaction times, and eye and head movements were all measured and used to create a Cognitive Distraction Rating Scale.

The rating scale weighed and measured the following:

  • Minimal Risk Distraction (Category 1) involved simply listening to the radio.
  • Moderate Risk (Category 2) involved talking on a cell phone, both hands-free and hand-held.
  • Extensive Risk (Category 3) involved listening to and responding to in-vehicle, voice-activated messaging features.

The results showed conclusively that consumers should not use voice-to-text features at all, and this is the stance of AAA. However, by 2018, it’s projected that vehicle infotainment systems will increase by nearly five times, increasing the dangers of distracted driving.

Preventing the Dangers of Distracted Driving

Ultimately, we can only hope that these types of studies will allow for more meaningful discussions to take place, leading to laws that better eliminate the risks posed by distracted driving. In the end, the only real solution is for drivers to stop engaging in reckless actions such as distracted driving.

If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, you should contact a qualified Albuquerque personal injury lawyer immediately. 

Distracted Driving Crashes in Albuquerque

Of all contributors to serious roadway accidents, distracted driving is likely growing the fastest. Nearly 1,000 people are injured daily by distracted drivers across the United States. Around 8,000 people are killed each year in distracted driving collisions.

The legal team at Will Ferguson & Associates is here to help you recover after an accident. We can help you hold a reckless driver accountable for their actions. Give us a call at (505) 243-5566 to discuss your case with an experienced Albuquerque personal injury lawyer.

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