As more states ban or limit texting and impose limits on handheld cell phone use while driving, motorists are increasingly turning to alternate technologies.
Hands-free systems, which allow users to manipulate their phones without touching them, have long been touted as a safer alternative to physically holding the phone while texting or talking. The suggestion that hands-free systems are safe has misled many drivers who do not realize the full extent of the risk when using Siri or another digital voice assistant.
Because drivers don’t understand the risks, it is common for motorists to simply talk to their phones or other electronics while operating their vehicles. Unfortunately, this can lead to more collisions. If you or someone you love is harmed by a driver who causes a crash due to distraction, a Naples car accident attorney can provide you with assistance in pursuing legal action against those responsible for the losses you have endured.
A Closer Look at the Problem
Troubling news about hands-free systems was published on Apple Insider, which quoted a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The study tested whether hands-free and eye-free smartphone control systems and infotainment control systems could be safely used while driving or whether the use of these electronic device impeded driver safety.
The AAA Foundation research involved looking at the level of mental distraction drivers experienced when doing various activities, like adjusting the radio, listening to messages, composing messages, navigating simple or complex menus and using Siri on an Apple phone.
Using Siri, which is Apple’s digital voice assistant, was actually found to be the biggest distraction. As Yahoo News reports, distractions were rated on a scale of 1-5 in the AAA Foundation study. Using Siri rated a 4.14 on the distraction scale. Two motorists who were talking to Siri also rear-ended another car on a driving simulation conducted as part of the study.
Hands-free systems like Siri are not only a distraction, but they may actually be less safe than handheld systems. One big issue with these systems is that sometimes it takes longer for a command to be recognized and responded to than when a driver just uses his hands to type a message. This means the distraction can go on for longer periods of time.
Another major issue is that studies have shown people’s brains cannot multitask very well. Multitasking while trying to drive could result in delayed reaction times, which can significantly increase collision risks. Drivers don’t realize how much of their brain energy is dedicated to talking to their phone, so they don’t even know they are not seeing obstacles in their path or reacting appropriately to driving risks. These drivers are a menace to themselves and others on the roads.
Contact Ryan Kuhl at The Kelleher Firm today if you have been injured by a distracted driver.