A new study raises questions about the dangers facing drivers using hands-free, voice-activated systems to make phone calls or work their car's entertainment systems.
All of the systems increase the amount of distraction a driver has to deal with, essentially increasing their chances of having an accident, according to AAA.
"Hands-Free is not risk-free," said Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. "There's a misunderstanding many people have that they are not increasing their chances of an accident just because they are using voice-activated systems when driving."
In fact, when AAA studied the reaction times of 167 drivers using voice-activated systems to make phone calls or change the radio station, it found drivers had slower reaction times and increased levels of distraction.
"The level of distraction depends on how complex the system is within a particular vehicle," Kissinger said. "When drivers have to give numerous commands and their mental workload goes up, their level of distraction goes up."
In short, the AAA study confirms what many safety advocates have said for some time. The problem of distracted driving won't be eliminated completely by people using voice-activated systems.