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Hands-free devices causing car accidents in Rhode Island

Distracted driving continues to kill thousands of Americans every year, with 3,331 people being killed in distracted driving car accidents in 2011. With more automakers installing onboard displays with voice-activated and hands-free technology, the American Automobile Association is worried that distracted driving car accidents will only increase in the future.

While automakers may think they are making their vehicles safer, a new study shows that hands-free devices are actually very dangerous and cause drivers to become distracted. Hands-free technology and voice-activated devices are more dangerous than handheld devices, according to the study by the AAA.

Their study found that hands-free devices cause cognitive distractions for drivers, which can increase the chances of being in a car accident. The study reported that hands-free devices cause drivers to become focused on the conversation they are having or the email or text they are writing, and this concentration takes away from a driver's ability to focus on the road.

The researchers reported that drivers using hands-free devices were more likely to be less observant and will not scan the road as often for hazards or objects such as other vehicles or pedestrians.

Hands-free devices can be very dangerous because it causes drivers to have tunnel vision. This means that drivers are only focusing on the road in front of them instead of checking their side and rearview mirrors. This can lead to car collisions with other vehicles as well as pedestrians and bicyclists.

The study concluded that hands-free devices are much more dangerous for drivers than previously thought, and that drivers actually become more distracted by using these devices. Researchers said that drivers should be aware of the dangers posed by hands-free devices and take steps to reduce using technological devices when driving to increase the safety for everyone on the road.

Source: DC. Streets Blog, "AAA: Hands-Free Devices Don't Solve Distracted Driving Dangers," Tanya Snyder, June 17, 2013

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