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Distracted Driving is Not Cured with Hands-free Devices

An additional study has confirmed prior studies that even using hands-free technology with your cell phone to talk or text while driving causes you to drive distracted and increases your crash risk. Why? Because even a voice-activated system increases your mental workload and diverts cognitive resources needed for driving.
Yet, according to AAA’s studies, more than 70% of Americans falsely believe that hands-free devices in vehicles are safer.
A new study performed on behalf of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety by David Strayer, professor at the University of Utah, used cameras mounted inside the car to track driver’s eye movements, an electrocephalographic (EEG) cap to chart brain activity, and a detection-response-task device to record reaction times. The report rates mental distraction using a scale similar to that used to rate hurricanes. Listening to the radio while driving is ranked as a Category 1 distraction and results in minimal risk; talking on a cellphone while driving, whether handheld or hands free, is ranked as a Category 2 distraction with moderate risk; and listening and responding to a voice-activated email while driving (like voice-activated texting) is a Category 3 distraction with extensive risk.
For more information and a video of the study, click here:
Hands-free devices still cause driver distraction, says study
AAA Study: Measuring Cognitive Distractions



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About The Author

Picture of Leslie A. Goller

Leslie A. Goller

Leslie has dedicated her career to championing consumers – whether they were harmed by big corporations, dangerous products, medical mistakes, accidents, or an unsafe environment – no issue is too big for her to tackle. She successfully prevented an incinerator from being built at University Hospital (now UF-Jacksonville), which would have polluted the air with toxic chemicals and obtained significant restrictions of other Jacksonville hospital incinerators resulting in cleaner air.