Technology is making it easier for drivers to text and call their loved ones while out and about without taking a hand—or an eye—off the road. Voice-activated controls and navigation systems keep drivers physically on task, but what about mentally? A lawyer working in high-traffic areas such as Salt Lake City knows that an auto accident can occur due to distracted driving, even if the driver has both hands on the wheel.
A recent study found that when drivers use voice-activated hands-free technology, their minds can continue to wander distractedly for up to 27 seconds after completing a task. This study, conducted by the American Automobile Association and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, focused on 257 drivers between the ages of 21 and 70, according to NPR.
As voice recognition systems failed to perform requested functions, drivers became frustrated and sometimes glanced down at their phones to correct the task. Some systems performed better than others across a variety of car models, but all of them provided at least some level of distraction.
It might seem like speaking to your car is a safer way to communicate on the road, but an auto accident lawyer would recommend refraining from any form of contact when at all possible. NPR reported that “crashes involving distracted drivers killed 3,154 people in 2013 alone.” It’s important that drivers understand the effect one phone call can have, even when a car is making the call for you.
Whether you live in Salt Lake City or a more rural area, a lawyer would advise you to exercise more caution when using hands-free technology while driving. These tools were designed to keep cell phones out of reach and to keep drivers safe, yet they still manage to be dangerously distracting. An auto accident could easily occur as the result of a voice command error, so don’t assume that hands-free means accident-free.