Is Siri Just As Dangerous As Texting And Driving?

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.

NHTSA Calling For Nationwide Takata Airbag Recall

Wired magazine, among other news outlets, reported last month that Takata, a manufacturer of airbags, are recalling their product on 7.8 million vehicles. The recall is based on a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NTSA”), which states that airbags that could explode with too much force when they inflate. Extra force can be enough to rupture the airbag’s container, sending plastic and metal fragments into passengers.

The car manufacturers affected by the recall include more than 50 models from Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors, made between 2000 and 2011. NHTSA is telling drivers of affected vehicles to “take immediate action,” meaning get themselves to a car dealership and get their airbags checked out. It’s especially concerned about drivers in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii (all hot, humid spots).

The New York Times reported today that the NHTSA is now calling for a nationwide recall rather than specific states or territories that are more prone to humid weather. The agency said a recent airbag failure outside the regional recall area had prompted it to take the action.

What does this all mean for Takata and the automakers? For one, it is going to cost a lot of money for the millions of airbags that need to be replaced. Second, both Takata and the automakers have or will face wrongful death lawsuits that are attributed to flaws in the airbags. At least five (5) deaths have been attributed to faulty airbags. This could increase the longer these faulty bags are being used.

If you have a vehicle that you believe contains a faulty airbag you should click here to determine if the year, make and model contain a Takata airbag.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a Chicago auto defect accident or Chicago car crash, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer Aaron Bryant for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.