Hands-Free-Not-Necessarily-Risk-Free-ImageThe amount of technology we interact with every day has grown exponentially over the past few decades. For many people, using hands-free technology like voice-to-text applications or Bluetooth technology is a way to maintain connections while driving. But new research from the American Automobile Association indicates hands-free communications technology may not be as safe as we would like to think.

According to AAA, it isn’t only the physical aspects of distraction that are dangerous, but the mental distractions as well. Even when your hands are on the steering wheel, if your mind is focused elsewhere, it could be just as dangerous.

The researchers monitored the safety of drivers using voice-texting programs while driving. Using tools like cameras mounted inside helmets to track driver eye-movement and an EEG to track brain waves, the researchers measured various markers while drivers were exposed to various levels of distraction.

They found that those whose mental workloads increased scanned the road less often and were more likely to miss visual clues, potentially leading to a greater risk of accidents.

Listening to the radio was seen as least distracting and ranked a Level 1 distraction. Talking on the phone, whether using a handheld cell phone or a hands-free option, resulted in a level 2 distraction, or a moderate risk. Finally, listening or dictating to voice activated email resulted in a Level 3 or extensive risk.

“These findings reinforce previous research that hands-free is not risk-free,” said AAA Foundation President Peter Kissinger. “Increased mental workload and cognitive distractions can lead to a type of tunnel vision or inattention blindness where motorists don’t see potential hazards right in front of them.”

As a result of their findings, AAA is urging motorists to eliminate distractions and also asking the automotive and electronics industry to explore options that would further eliminate distractions—like disabling certain features when the car is in motion.

As a driver you can be ahead of the industry by eliminating distractions yourself. By simply shutting off your phone or disabling the interactive voice control features of your car, you can better focus on the road and not allow such distractions to get you involved in a serious accident.

Houston Accident Lawyer

Distracted driving is a major cause of accidents, and when someone crashes into you because they are distracted, you could be eligible for compensation for your injuries. Houston accident lawyer Kevin Krist may be able to help. Call today for a free consultation on your case.