The good news is that more people have accepted that holding a phone can be dangerous while driving. The bad news is that a study from AAA indicates that the hands-free devices many people use might not be as safe as people assume. Keep reading to get the facts and remember that you can contact Law Offices of Patrick S. Aguirre at 800-572-1252 to request a free legal consultation.
The Key to the Findings: There Are Three Types of Distraction
To understand why hands-free devices can still cause an increase in the likelihood of a car accident, it is important to understand that there are actually three different types of distractions:
Taking your hands off the road is a manual distraction, meaning that you physically cannot respond to an emergency as well as you otherwise would be able to. Visual refers to taking your hands off the wheel, which is what hands-free devices are meant to prevent. Finally, there are cognitive distractions, which include anything that takes your focus from driving. The study showed that hands-free devices could cause significant cognitive distraction.
A Closer Look at How the Study Worked
The study looked at six popular hands-free voice command systems to see what type of “mental workload” they put on drivers. Researchers did this by studying the participants’ reaction time, their heart rates, and a few other factors while the driver was taking part in a single-task baseline drive, as well a when they did a complicated math test. This was done to establish both high and low baselines for the workload.
The participants then had the chance to use a number of hands-free systems, were shown how to use them, and were allowed to practice. Only when they felt comfortable with the device were they then asked to complete a specific task while driving through a simple loop in a low-traffic residential area. The tasks they were asked to do included things like calling someone they had entered as a contact, changing the radio station, and dialing a ten-digit phone number.
The Findings of the Study
The study found that when a driver uses a voice recognition system, they are much more distracted than when they are having a conversation with someone next to them, or simply listening to the radio. However, it is important to note that the subject became much more distracted for every step required. Those systems that required just one step to get connected were much safer than those that required three steps.
If you have been injured in an accident and require the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, contact Law Offices of Patrick S. Aguirre at 800-572-1252 for a free legal consultation.