Study Shows Voice-Activated Devices Distract Drivers
A new study released by AAA shows that using hands-free smartphone while driving isn’t as safe as previously thought.
According to the Governors’ Highway Safety Association, 11 states, California among them, have passed laws to restrict drivers’ use of hand-held cell phones. Cell phone usage is allowed when drivers use speaker phones or Bluetooth systems that let them keep both their hands on the wheel while talking. In California, drivers under 18 and school bus drivers are also banned from using their cell phones while driving, even hands-free devices.
According to the new study, state restrictions don’t go far enough. Devices that respond to voice commands to send text messages or respond to email may be the most dangerous distracters of all, but these activities are legal for most California drivers. Many drivers in the test who appeared to be looking straight ahead at the road were so distracted while using their electronic devices that they didn’t actually see hazards that were directly in their line of sight.
Analysts offered several reasons why talking to a computer requires more attention than talking to a passenger. Drivers in the test were careful to use precise language so the computer could understand them, and they listened carefully to the computer’s reply so they could understand its voice. In addition, computers don’t provide cues that occur naturally in human conversation, making the process of giving voice commands more awkward than talking to another person in the car.
Until state safety laws catch up to the information revealed in the AAA study, distracted drivers may be rampant on California roads. If a distracted driver injures you or someone you know, a southern California personal injury law firm such a TorkLaw can help you understand your legal options. Call today for a free consultation (888) 845-9696.