Onboard electronics such as voice-activated systems and other hands-free devices promise a safer driving experience. The idea is that if a drivers’ hands remain on the wheel and their eyes on the road, they’re not really distracted. This should, theoretically, reduce the risks posed by hand-held cellphones and similar distractions that are known causes of auto accidents.
However, onboard electronics don’t deliver on their promise of safety. According to several studies, these devices may actually make matters worse.
Types of Distraction
There are three types of distraction that can increase the risk of causing a motor vehicle accident:
- Manual. Anything that takes a driver’s hands off the wheel.
- Visual. Things that takes a driver’s eyes off of the road.
- Cognitive. Anything that takes a driver’s mind and attention from the task of driving.
Most types of distraction encompass at least two of these. Some, such as cellphone use, cigarette smoking, or eating and drinking, can result in all three.
Hands-free devices often produce a greater level of cognitive and visual attention. They may even require additional manual attention as well. Voice commands and talk-to-text are infamously inaccurate. Checking for accuracy takes visual and cognitive attention. Fixing those inaccuracies requires manual attention. Following this logic, it becomes easy to see how these devices may not be as safe as many drivers believe.
Distracted Driving Awareness Month
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and a great time to reflect on how your driving habits impact the safety of everyone on the road. Consider new behaviors, such as:
- Turning your cellphone off while you drive
- Pre-programing GPS or maps
- Choosing music/entertainment before you begin driving
- Eating and drinking outside of your vehicle
- Getting ready for the day at home
One good rule of thumb: When you drive, just drive. Anything that takes your eyes, hands, or mind from the task of driving is a danger to you and everyone on the road.
But even the most responsible driver can’t always avoid an accident. If you have suffered a catastrophic injury caused by a distracted driver, Kline & Specter may be able to help you recover damages. We have a long history of securing significant verdicts and settlements for victims of auto accidents. Please contact us today to schedule a free case review.