Distracted Driving and Hands-Free Technology

AAA has reported on the continuing research regarding the issue of the dangers of distracted driving, and drivers’ use of hands-free technology.

AAA reports what is well known, that distracted driving is a serious safety concern. According to the National Highway Traffic Association (NHTSA) approximating 3,300 people in the United States were killed, and another 421,000 were injured, in crashes involving distracted drivers.

A University of Utah study cited by AAA confirmed that drivers using voice commands to send and receive text messages experienced significant levels of mental distraction, which compromised their driving performance.

Some activities, like listening to a text or an email, are less demanding than composing a message, and some voice-activated tasks of short duration are less distracting than tasks of longer duration.

However, the point is that hands-free technology does not minimize all driver distraction, and it may increase it. Cognitive distraction, or plain and simple mental overload, occurs when a driver takes on too many or complicated tasks.

According to AAA, the number of vehicles with built in “infotainment systems” on American roads is expected to rise from 7 million today to 370 million by 2020.

AAA confirms that hands-free isn’t distraction or risk free, the safety of all of us is at stake.

Source: Highroads, “Hands Free Isn’t Risk Free” Rob Bhatt, January/February 2015