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Study: Hands-Free Worse Than Hand-Held for Drivers

Hands-free driving is not synonymous with risk-free driving, according to a recent study.

The American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety concluded in a recent major study that hands-free mobile technology, and especially advanced operating systems such as the iOS and Cloud, may actually enhance distracted driving instead of reducing it. Other research reaffirms this conclusion.

The flood of information from social networking, texts, emails and other media means that a driver is primarily engaged with the information inside the car. Road conditions, weather conditions, other drivers and other driving hazards are relegated to a decidedly secondary position. With more and more cars poised to utilize hands-free technology in the coming years, researchers predict that the problem will worsen.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is already one of the most commonly cited factors in Boston-area automobile collisions, along with excessive speed, aggressive driving and alcohol use. Some forms of distracted driving include:

  • Cognitive. A driver may be mentally distracted by a song on the radio, a conversation with a passenger, or a warning light on the dashboard. Some level of distraction is inevitable. However, when the driver becomes consumed with tasks other than driving, cognitive distraction becomes a major problem.
  • Visual. A driver who is adjusting the air conditioner, sending a text message or reading an email is not watching the road. Especially at freeway speeds, or if the driver is operating a larger vehicle that is more difficult to stop, the extra few milliseconds it takes for the driver to see the hazard and apply the brakes may be very costly indeed.

The bottom line is that distracted drivers have always caused accidents. No technological advance can change that fact. If you have been involved in an accident with a distracted driver, contact my office for advice and assistance.

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