We've all been warned about the dangers of talking on a cellphone while driving. In some states, it's illegal to talk on a hand-held device while operating a vehicle. In Florida, it's still legal. However, hands-free technology doesn't lead to distraction-free driving.
A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that even when a person is making a phone call or sending a text via hands-free technology, that driver can remain distracted by that activity for as much as 27 seconds longer. That's enough time to get into a crash.
One author of the study noted that any kind of voice interaction puts a person in a "distraction bubble" and that it takes time to "re-establish the awareness of the driving environment." Even at slow speeds, as are required in school zones, a driver can go a long distance in that less-than half-minute distraction time.
All hands-free technology is not created equal. Automakers have said that they are working to minimize the amount of visual and manual attention required to use the system. Obviously, those that are more error-prone and less intuitive cause more distraction for drivers.
Voice-activated systems can help drivers keep their hands on the steering wheel. However, a driver's full attention is required to react to split-second changes in road conditions.
If you have been injured in an accident that was the fault of another driver, law enforcement investigators can determine whether that driver was using a voice-activated system in the car at the time of the crash. A Miami car accident attorney can provide guidance and help you determine your legal options for holding an at-fault driver accountable. This can help you receive compensation to help cover medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
Source: ABC News, "Hands-Free Tech Can Distract Drivers Up to 27 Seconds After Use, Study Says," Erin Dooley, Oct. 22, 2015