Using a hands-free device while driving does not mean you are risk-free. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has evidence to prove it. Recently, the organization released a new study which revealed that using voice-activated apps such as Siri or in-car technologies while driving still pose a real danger and are risky distractions for drivers.
In its research, AAA involved 150 drivers who were analyzed while participating in various distracting activities like listening to an audio book, talking on the phone and responding to voice-activated emails. They drove on a driving simulator and in an instrumented vehicle on residential streets in Salt Lake City. Two years were spent to measure their brain activity.
In order to monitor the driver's eye and head movement, researchers mounted cameras inside the instrumented car while a Detection-Response-Task device was used to record the driver's reaction when responding to triggers of red and green lights. Researchers also used a special electroencephalographic (EEG) configured skull cap to determine the driver’s mental workload. The findings from the AAA study showed that as mental workload and distractions increase, reaction time slows, brain function is compromised and drivers scan the road less. This study strengthens the fact that distracted driving is real, risky and deadly.
In 2011, distracted driving was a factor in about 10% of the fatal accidents in the U.S. In Kentucky, distraction was cited as a factor in 49,821 collisions that killed 144 people. Unfortunately, this number will continue to rise unless we do something to stop it. Please put your phones and other devices away before you drive.
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I advise all drivers to end distracted driving. One of the simplest ways to do that is to stop using any type of communications device or gadget behind the wheel. Another way is to stay focused. Passengers, eating and even pets can also cause distractions. Always keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. Refrain from using hands-free devices, stay focused and enjoy a safe and risk-free travel.