For drivers in Florida, the prospect of encountering a distracted driver is usually a concern that is limited to these drivers texting and driving and using a handheld device. However, research indicates that those who are driving and attempting to use voice-controlled technology in their vehicles might be causing greater danger and inducing more distraction than was initially believed. This is in opposition to what most people think is the proper way to use technology when driving.
The study was conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and it discovered that voice-controlled technology that links up to driver’s smartphones can cause enough distraction that they might go the distance of three football fields before they’ve stopped using it and returned their full focus to the road. One particular woman had graduated college on that very day she was severely injured in a car accident that was caused by a distracted driver. The driver made a left turn in spite of having a red signal. An 18-wheeler truck tried to avoid him, hit the front of his vehicle and then crashed into the vehicle the woman was in. Her parents died and she was severely injured in the accident.
In 2013, distracted driving was believed to have been responsible for more than 3,100 fatalities and injured approximately 424,000 people. Experts suggest that it takes time for a driver to remove the person from the mental position of paying attention to something other than the road and this is true whether the driver is using a hands-free device or not. The voice commands for vehicles and smartphones serve to distract drivers similarly.
Given this new information, drivers who caused] an accident and were believed to have been using a smartphone, technology or were distracted in some other way and thought that since they were using hands-free technology that they were being “safe,” may not have been. Those who have been injured in a car accident or lost a loved one in a crash with a distracted driver need to make sure they have evidence as to what happened with assistance from a legal professional so they can pursue a case.
Source: CBS News, “Hands-free technology in cars hardly danger-free, study finds,” Oct. 22, 2015