Study: Hands free cellphones a source of distraction
Studies show that hands-free cellphones are still a source a cognitive distraction and may lead to serious car accidents.
California and many other states in the nation have banned drivers from using hand-held cellphones as a way to decrease the number of distracted driving car accidents. This ban has encouraged motorists to use hands-free cellular devices as a way to minimize distraction and still engage in conversation while driving. However, studies show that hands-free cellphones and voice-activated devices may not be as safe as soon people may think.
A study published by AAA compared the distraction levels of hands-free and hand-held cellphones, as well as other activities drivers may engage in while behind the wheel. Researchers asked study participants to drive a simulator vehicle and an automobile equipped with various monitors. As participants drove along the course, they were asked to engage in certain activities, which include the following:
· Listening to the radio.
· Talking with a passenger in the car.
· Engaging in conversation using a hand-held cellphone.
· Speaking with a person using a hands-free cellphone.
· Listening to a book-on-tape.
· Using a voice-activated device to perform tasks.
Researchers measured each driver’s heart rate, brain activity, blood pressure and eye movements in order to determine the amount of distraction the driver experienced.
The study showed that while talking on a hands-free cellphone was less distracting than using a hand-held phone, it still acted as a significant distraction to motorists. Listening to the radio was least distracting, and using the voice-activated technology was most distracting. This gives researchers an opportunity to further study the effects of voice-activated technology and a person’s ability to drive safely.
Although hands-free cellphones do not require drivers to use their hands or eyes to manipulate the device, they still require use of motorists’ mental focus. This cognitive distraction takes drivers’ concentration off of the road and inhibits their ability to respond to dangerous hazards, such as bad weather conditions, traffic signals, pedestrian crosswalks, objects in the road, bicyclists and other drivers. According to the National Safety Council, the human brain cannot focus on two complex tasks simultaneously. Instead, it switches back and forth from one task to the other, leaving brief moments where the driver is not concentrating on the road at all. This can cause catastrophic car accidents, which may leave people with long-term injuries.
Dealing with the aftermath of an accident
If you have been injured in an accident caused by another driver’s neglectful actions, you may want to seek the counsel of a personal injury attorney in California. In addition to answering questions regarding your case, an attorney may help you look at all possible legal options and help to get you back on the track to recovery.