Hands-Free Texting is Still Unsafe for Seattle Drivers, Study Shows

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on June 18, 2013

Seattle car accident attorneys have been warning Washington motorists about the dangers of distracted driving. In an effort to combat texting while driving, many auto manufacturers are advertising voice commands technology as a safe way to send text messages and emails while driving. A new study by AAA, however, shows that using voice commands to send texts is actually more dangerous and distracting than simply talking on a cell phone.

Many new vehicles are being built with dashboard infotainment systems that have voice command capabilities. Auto manufacturers are even reaching out to younger drivers by creating systems capable of connecting to Facebook. If you have seen the ads, you may be under the impression that these devices are safe because they allow drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.

A report by The Associated Press, however, shows that talking on a hands-free phone is not significantly safer than talking on a handheld phone. Furthermore, using a hands-free device to send a text is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving. The AAA study cited in the report shows that people who are using voice commands are not focused on the task at hand and are therefore not seeing what they need to see to drive safely.

The AAA study measured the eye movement, driving performance, and brain waves of 32 University of Utah students as they attempted to drive while distracted. The study found that synthetic computer voices are harder to understand than human voices and therefore require more attention. Furthermore, complex and long interactions with a computer significantly impaired their ability to focus on the roadway.

Whether or not auto manufacturers decide to limit the use of voice-operated technology, it is the responsibility of all motorists to ensure that they are focused on the roadway. You can reduce your chances of being in a Washington car accident by turning off your cell phone, keeping your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road, and your mind focused on the task at hand.

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