facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Study: Hands-free in cars doesn't mean risk-free

June 12, 2013 at 5:00 AM   |   Comments

SALT LAKE CITY, June 12 (UPI) -- Using hands-free devices to talk, text or email while driving is distracting and risky, contrary to common beliefs, a University of Utah study said Wednesday.

The study, conducted for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, confirmed previous research suggesting talking on a hands-free cellphone was just as distracting as using a hand-held phone while driving, a university release said.

"Our research shows that hands-free is not risk-free," lead study author David Strayer, a University of Utah psychology professor, said.

"These new, speech-based technologies in the car can overload the driver's attention and impair their ability to drive safely," he said. "An unintended consequence of trying to make driving safer -- by moving to speech-to-text, in-vehicle systems -- may actually overload the driver and make them less safe."

The potential for dangerous mental distractions exist even when drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road, the researchers said.

As mental workload and distractions increase, reaction time can slow, brain function can be compromised, and drivers tend to scan the road less and miss visual cues including stop signs and pedestrians, they said.

"There is a looming public safety crisis ahead with the future proliferation of these in-vehicle technologies," AAA President Robert L. Darbelnet said. "It's time to consider limiting new and potentially dangerous mental distractions built into cars, particularly with the common public misperception that hands-free means risk-free."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
trending
Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
1
Obama's plan calls for computer chip implants to help soldiers heal
2
Newfoundland fossil is earliest evidence of muscled animals
3
Tech industry All Stars developing 'Star Trek'-style communication badges
4
Latvia boasts world's first net for migrating bats
5
Wolf yawns are contagious
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback