Hands-free talking, texting still unsafe for drivers
Take out that Bluetooth and stop talking to Siri! Even hands-free devices that help people talk, text or send e-mails while driving can distract the driver, according to a new study at the University of Utah.
This follows up on a 2006 study that found that talking on a hands-free cell phone is just as distracting as using a hand-held phone while driving. The new research determined that as a driver’s mental workload and distractions increase, his or her reaction time slows and brain function is compromised. Also, a driver scans the road less and is more likely to miss visual cues. This can result in drivers being unaware of their surroundings, including crossing pedestrians and traffic signs. As the lead author on the study, David Strayer, noted, "Just because you can update Facebook while driving doesn't mean that it is safe to do so."
AAA, which worked with the Utah researchers, will use the findings to help make its case that voice-to-text features shouldn’t be used when a car is in motion.