An additional study has confirmed prior studies that even using hands-free technology with your cell phone to talk or text while driving causes you to drive distracted and increases your crash risk. Why? Because even a voice-activated system increases your mental workload and diverts cognitive resources needed for driving.
Yet, according to AAA’s studies, more than 70% of Americans falsely believe that hands-free devices in vehicles are safer.
A new study performed on behalf of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety by David Strayer, professor at the University of Utah, used cameras mounted inside the car to track driver’s eye movements, an electrocephalographic (EEG) cap to chart brain activity, and a detection-response-task device to record reaction times. The report rates mental distraction using a scale similar to that used to rate hurricanes. Listening to the radio while driving is ranked as a Category 1 distraction and results in minimal risk; talking on a cellphone while driving, whether handheld or hands free, is ranked as a Category 2 distraction with moderate risk; and listening and responding to a voice-activated email while driving (like voice-activated texting) is a Category 3 distraction with extensive risk.
For more information and a video of the study, click here: