Are Hands-Free Devices Safer?

Is hands-free more distracting than hand-held? According to a new study conducted by AAA and the University of Utah, yes, it could be. 

The study consisted of monitoring 167 participants as they used voice-activated systems to make simple requests, like changing the radio station or making a phone call. Researchers then measured brain patterns, reaction times and driver behaviors. The results showed that drivers had decreased reaction times and increased distraction levels as they interacted more with the system. 


"The level of distraction depends on how complex the system is within a particular vehicle," said Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. "Hands-Free is not risk-free." 

Toyota's Entune system was rated the least distracting, with a rating of 1.7 out of 5. The study compared this level of distraction with listening to an audio book. Chevrolet's Mylink was rated most distracting, with a rating of 3.7. 

AAA confirms what many advocates have been saying; hands-free systems do not eliminate the serious problem of distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,328 people in the United States were killed last year in distracted driving accidents, with another 421,000 people injured. 

Source: NBC News
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