Hands-Free Technology and Distracted Driving

When we discuss “distracted driving,” mobile phone use is often the first thing that comes to mind. However, recent studies and analyses of distracted driving are equally concerned with navigation systems, in-dash systems, and other hands-free devices in cars, especially “smart cars” which increasingly come equipped with such technology.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that auto accidents caused by distracted drivers injure over 1,100 people and kill at least 9 each day in the U.S. While mobile phones and text-messaging are among the most common culprits, hands-free technology in cars is receiving more attention for causing other types of distraction which may still interfere with the driver’s focus with little advantage over the visual and manual distractions of texting. The U.S. government maintains an official website dedicated to distracted driving, “distraction.gov,” which offers research demonstrating the cognitive distractions caused by hands-free phone conversations, and a similar study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute concludes that hands-free mobile phone use “involves visual-manual tasks at least half of the time,” which is associated with an increased risk of an accident.

A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) focused on distractions which detract from the goal of “hands-free” use of technology in cars. It found that while drivers may use hands-free systems to make calls, they may often remain guilty of texting while driving and manually ending hands-free calls, causing further distraction, and mobile phones are often used manually after hands-free voice commands go unrecognized by the vehicle. Another study discussed in the Daily Mail focused on the distractions of “talking while driving” and a number of voice-activated systems; it found Toyota’s “Entune” system to be the least distractive, while Apple’s well-known robot “Siri” was the most distractive, and most of the errors of the lowest-rated systems involved failure to recognize drivers’ voice commands, prompting them to switch to manual phone use while driving.

Such studies are conducted nationwide and their findings are published on an ongoing basis. Regardless of whether hands-free technology is truly safer than manual phone use for drivers, the fact is that both are capable of causing distractions which can result in a devastating accident, even in a split-second, and you have both a legal and personal responsibility to avoid any and all distractions when behind the wheel to ensure the safety of everyone on the road.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to a distracted driver, contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based injury law firm representing individuals (and their families) who have suffered an injury in an accident. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, Agruss Law Firm, LLC is not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.

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