AAA released a study recently that has shed new light on distracted driving. In this study, released earlier in November, AAA found that hands-free technology is just as dangerous as using the device itself. They say hands-free technology’s effects could linger for as much as 30 seconds after the task is complete; so, for example, 30 seconds after changing a song or sending text messages, your mind could still be occupied with the task, continuing the distraction.

More About the Study

The study specifically assessed the use of hands-free devices while driving. Traditionally, hands-free devices have been advertised as the safer alternative to using a device, and even some manufacturers will claim it reduces or eliminates distracted driving. In the study, they assessed the push-to-talk technologies found in the 2015 model year vehicles. They found potentially unsafe levels of distractions that can last as long as 27 seconds after completing the task itself. When driving at just 25 miles per hour, that amount of time will take you the length of almost three football fields.

This was the agency’s third phase of investigations, as they have been devoting their time to cognitive distractions. AAA has wanted to prove that hands-free devices are just as dangerous and can mentally distract drivers even when their hands are on the wheel and eyes on the road.

In the study, they also found that some drivers are distracted as much as 15 additional seconds after completing the task.  Just a few vehicles and hands-free technology that were assessed included:

  • Chevy Equinox
  • Mazda 6
  • Apple Siri
  • Microsoft Cortana

The Apple and Microsoft applications actually increased the distraction time more than the built-in units inside these vehicles.

Stay Safe, Glove Box Your Electronic Devices

While hands-free may seem safer, the reality is that it is just as dangerous as using the device in your hands. The only way to truly refrain from distraction is to not use a device that takes your cognitive abilities off the road. Simply glancing at a device can have lingering distractive effects that impact your ability to drive safely, putting more lives at risk.

If you have a hands-free device, never assume that it is safer. Instead, it is wise to “glove box” your phone, removing the temptation to engage in cell phone activity, even if it is hands-free.

If You Are Injured by a Distracted Driver

Despite this new study, there are still thousands of drivers who choose to use hands-free technology on a daily basis. After all, most states have not banned their use; therefore, drivers feel it is okay to continue using them. However, if a driver is distracted and it leads to recklessness, causing an accident, you can hold that driver accountable for their negligent behavior. Contact Horn Law today for a free consultation by calling 816-795-7500, or fill out an online contact form.