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Hands-free devices lead to distracted driving car accidents

Distracted driving has become increasingly common in Massachusetts and is one of the most common causes of car accidents in the U.S. Cellphone use is one the main reasons drivers become distracted and to address the safety issues of using a cellphone while driving, automakers and cellphone companies turned to hands-free devices and voice-activated technology.

While many believe that these technologies are safer for drivers to use, a new study reports that hands-free technology is just as dangerous as using hand-held cellphone while driving. A study by the AAA found that hands-free devices and voice-activated technology are dangerous and cause drivers to become distracted behind the wheel. 

The study found that hands-free and voice-activated technology can still cause drivers to become distracted because they are forced to concentrate on using the voice-activated technology and still concentrating on the conversation they are having instead of focusing on driving safely.

When drivers try to focus on two cognitive functions, like driving and sending a text message through voice-activated technology, their ability to drive safely becomes impaired because they cannot focus on both tasks at the same time. The study reported that when drivers use this technology, they are at risk for having tunnel vision and may overlook stop signs and even pedestrians crossing right in front of them.

With nine million vehicles in the U.S. featuring voice-activated technology and other hands-free devices available to many drivers, many safety groups believe that distracted driving car accidents will only increase if more awareness is not made about the dangers of using this technology behind the wheel.

The AAA wants automakers to be aware of the dangers voice-activated and other technology devices may pose to drivers as well as inform the public about the risks of being in a car accident when they use these features.

Source: WGGB, "AAA Report: Hands Free Technology Equally Dangerous," June 12, 2013

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