Car Drivers Are Distracted By Hands-Free Devices For 27 Seconds

Posted: Oct 22 2015, 4:40am CDT | by , in News | Cars & Vehicles


Car Drivers are Distracted by Hands-Free Devices for 27 Seconds
  • New Hands-Free Technologies Pose Hidden Dangers for Drivers

The infotainment systems in cars even with voice commands lead to the distraction of drivers and may prove harmful.

A new study regarding the hazards of infotainment technology in cars was recently released. According to the study a car driver is distracted by the technological features for 27 seconds after giving a command.

The driver is not able to gain full alertness after using the voice activated systems. It could mean a car travelling at 25 mph can travel up to a long distance before gaining full attention. Simple acts such as dialing a phone number or changing music can distract drivers. The research was published through the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. 

"The lasting effects of mental distraction pose a hidden and pervasive danger that would likely come as a surprise to most drivers," said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. "The results indicate that motorists could miss stop signs, pedestrians and other vehicles while the mind is readjusting to the task of driving."

The study proved hands-free technologies used by D.C. drivers can create mental distractions. The distractions occur even if the drivers have their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. When the driver shifts their attention to devices then they stop scanning for their surroundings. Anticipating hazards in the presence of hands free devices is hard. 

"Drivers should use caution while using voice-activated systems, even at seemingly safe moments when there is a lull in traffic or the car is stopped at an intersection," said Marshall Doney, AAA's President and CEO. "The reality is that mental distractions persist and can affect driver attention even after the light turns green."

David Strayer was the lead researcher of the University of Utah. The researchers studies the hands free devices use in 10 models for 2015. Different smartphone software’s were studied such as Google Now, Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana.

"The massive increase in voice-activated technologies in cars and phones represents a growing safety problem for drivers," continued Doney. "We are concerned that these new systems may invite driver distraction, even as overwhelming scientific evidence concludes that hands-free is not risk free." 

"Developers should reduce mental distractions by designing systems that are no more demanding than listening to the radio or an audiobook," continued Doney. "Given that the impairing effects of distraction may last much longer than people realize, AAA advises consumers to use caution when interacting with these technologies while behind the wheel."

The survey was carried out on 573 drivers. The results found 7 out of 10 had their brain distracted for up to 10 seconds after completing an in car task. Similarly the research found 88 percent of the drivers are distracted for longer times after using a voice generated device. Different cars and their technologies were rated for distraction on a scale of 1 to 10. The study showed even though many tasks are possible in cars now they should still be avoided.

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