Is using hands-free technology behind the wheel not as safe as we think? Apparently not, according to a new study. The study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that hands-free devices are more distracting for drivers than hand-held devices.
The study found that when drivers use hands-free technology, like voice-to-text features on cellphones and in-screen technology, they become more distracted than when they use hand-held cellphones. This is because drivers using hands-free devices require a driver to multitask and result in a driver having a heavier mental workload.
The most dangerous technology drivers can use behind the wheel is voice-to-text technology for sending text messages and emails, according to the study. Using voice-to-text features can lead to drivers having tunnel vision and makes them more inattentive, causing them to not see traffic signals, stop signs and pedestrians or vehicles who may walk or drive in front of them.
Another reason hands-free devices may be more dangerous for drivers is because they create a false sense of safety. Many drivers think they do not cause distractions when they actually cause drivers to become more distracted than regular cellphone use.
The findings of this study are very disturbing to public safety groups who have continued to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Safety groups say that any type of distraction behind the wheel is dangerous and can result in a car accident. Groups and law enforcement officials say that drivers need to be aware of the distractions they face while driving and take steps to reduce these distractions.
The Department of Transportation recently recommended that automakers limit the use of voice-activated technology in new vehicles and install features to disable cellphones from receiving text messages and emails while the vehicle is in motion to reduce the risk of distracted driving car accidents.