A new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety calls into question the safety of hands-free technology used by drivers. According to a news release posted by AAA last month, dangerous mental distractions exist even when drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.
The study revealed the following findings regarding the distractions drivers create for themselves while behind the wheel:
- Tasks such as listening to the radio ranked as a category “1” level of distraction or a minimal risk.
- Talking on a cell-phone, both handheld and hands-free, resulted in a “2” or a moderate risk.
- Listening and responding to in-vehicle, voice-activated email features increased mental workload and distraction levels of the drivers to a “3” rating or one of extensive risk.
“These findings reinforce previous research that hands-free is not risk-free,” said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger. “Increased mental workload and cognitive distractions can lead to a type of tunnel vision or inattention blindness where motorists don’t see potential hazards right in front of them.”
AAA is the front runner on this type of research and stated in their press release that legislative action should be considered, much like the ban on texting and driving. They suggest that voice automated technology should be limited to core related driving functions such as climate control and windshield wipers. They also suggest that there should be a ban on voice to text technology related to social media, text messages and emails.
If this research is accurate (which I believe it is), then AAA is at the forefront here and their suggestions should be listened to. To me it makes sense that voice to text functions such as emails, texts and tweets are a distraction and dangerous because drivers often times look down at their phone to check and make sure their texts or emails are accurate.
It will be interesting to see if any states or the federal government takes any action to limit voice to text technology. It could save lives.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.